We sat down with Manfred Zylla to chat about his exhibition he sketched at the Oudtshoorn Arts Festival 2007. The Klein Karoo National Arts Festival for the first time that year, as per Manfred, included the indigenous Khoi peoples and community as part of the festival. He there painted portraits of indigenous leaders, writers, poets, riel dancers and children from Bitterfontein community who were in attendance. Those portraits will be a first seen on 16 December 3032 at the Koena Art Institute.
We are honoured to host this prolific artists’ exhibition. One of the greats of our time in South African Art, Manfred Zylla. We celebrate you Manfred.
About Manfred Zylla
Born in Germany when Adolf Hitler was in power, Manfred Zylla came to South Africa in 1970 and almost immediately produced work which was scathingly direct in its political and social content and highly critical of the National Party’s apartheid system. Zylla dealt directly with topical subjects of the day such as the Soweto uprisings of 1976 and the subsequent events of the turbulent 1980s. Manfred Zylla uses drawing, painting and printmaking to produce biting commentaries on global politics, economy and ecology. Manfred, through the years and to this day connects with Khoe and San history and it’s people. A member of an improvised jazz band aptly named Riempie Vasmaak with Garth Erasmus, indigenous artist and musician, and Anrew Emdon.
Working between the political situations of Germany and South Africa, Zylla has historically challenged capitalist-driven processes that forcefully re-render peoples’ relation to their own land, history and culture.
“I use art as a tool to confront reality. I use art as a tool to get to know the world in which I live. And I use art as a tool to experience my own reality within the world in which I live.” – Manfred Zylla.
Date: 16 December 2021
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