Sam Nhlengethwa
Glimpses of the Fifties and Sixties
by Andries Loots - 1 March 2004

' Pass Raid '
, 2003 Hand printed Photolithograph, 50 x 30cm Edition of 30

A new body of work entitled ' Glimpses of the Fifties and Sixtiesby artist Sam Nhlengethwa has just opened in Cape Town. 

The exhibition of monochromatic paintings, collage's and hand printed photolithographs enhances the bleak and unbearable living conditions of black commuters, mines and workers in and around mining
communities during the fifties and the sixties. Although familiar imagery of  people and places from the past have been used to reconstruct provocative, emotional and sensitive scenes,  Sam has by way of his artistic creativity put new life into these historical images which otherwise would have never been seen again as many of them have now been stored away in dusty boxes in archives. The body of work is not to provoke hatred of what has happened during the early years of the apartheid but to serve as a contemporary documentation of incidents which were never captured as a whole on camera. 

The show is concurrently showing at three different venues to allow a wider audience to view the work.  

The Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg : 19 February  to 13 March 2004 
Florence Lynch Gallery, New York : 7 February to 6 March 2004 
Joćo Ferreira Gallery, Cape Town  : 28 February to 20 March 2004.

 "In this new series of work called 'Glimpses into the Fifties and Sixties' there is a highlight on scenes in the mines as in previous works.  As a child I was exposed to extreme working and living conditions in and around a small mining community in Westonaria.  One of my earliest memories is of being at a softball match where, amidst these conditions, we were able to enjoy recreational activity.

I think I'm lucky in the sense that I have used art as an outlet for the frustrations I encountered during this time.  My visual expression through painting was a therapeutically healing.  This newest body of work is a culmination of a thought that began 10 years ago and, be it coincidental or otherwise, in the context of the coming elections in South Africa 2004, it has transformed into a historical retrospective."
- The Artist

Sam was born in 1955,  studied  at the Rorkes Drift Art Centre, and has worked extensively in the graphic medium alongside collage and oils.

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