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( 1938 - 1999 )

Week 3 
by Andries Loots

ezrom.jpg (7758 bytes)

1999 Started off with a tragedy for South African Art Community as one of the our masters sculptors,  EZROM LEGAE,   passed away. 

"Born in 1938 in Vrededorp in Johannesburg. He attended the St. Cyprian School and still later the Madibane High School. He studied at the Polly Street Art Centre form 1959-1960 and at the jubilee Art Centre form 1960-1964,   where he was taught and influenced by Cecil Skotnes and  Sydney Kumalo. Legae visited Central Africa in 1964 for the first time. He became an instructor at the   centre in 1965 when he took over from Kumalo as assistant to Skotnes. In 1970 he toured Europe and the U.S.A. This influenced him profoundly and made him even more aware,   not only of his own identity,  but also of the necessity of living with others outside of one's own group. From 1965-1969 he was an instructor at the Jubilee Art Centre and a part-time teacher at FUBA. In 1972 Legae was awarded a bursary from the Merit Grant Fund in the U.S.A. From 1972-1974 he was director of the African Music and Drama Association Art Project.

That Legae was influenced by both Cecil Skotnes and Sydney Kumalo has not only been acknowledged by Legae himself,  but is also evident in his art. Both these teachers introduced him to various mediums,  guided him to explore these and to resolve certain technical problems and introduced him to a sound aesthetic basis. This,   together  with his own inherent talent and personal qualities,  his experiences abroad,  his identification with the human situation,  and that of his own people in particular,  greatly contributed to the development of Legae and his work.
In his sculptures Legae uses terra cotta,   after which the models are cast in bronze. The sculptures  reveal a strong intellectual quality and a serious and sophisticated concept of form. Although Legae is regarded by many  primarily as a sculptor,  he was also an outstanding pictorial artist. His early drawings were done mostly in pencil and charcoal   like the Chicken Series that was done in 1978,  but later has taken the form of collages and pen drawings from his travel in Africa. Legae was an outstanding draughtsman,  an artist with technical accomplishment,  sophisticated aesthetic insight and an independent artistic image and identity. There is no doubt that Legae had an exceptional creative ability. " *
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Chicken Series. Pencil drawing  26 x 44cm
Private Collection 

He has held many one-man exhibitions in various centres and participated in several group exhibitions since 1965:
1965 Egon Guenther Gallery, Johannesburg - First Solo-exhibition
He has also exhibited in Belgium, The Nederlands, West Germany and South America
1966, 1972 Republic Festival Exhibition
1979 Contemporary African Art in South Africa
1981 Standard Bank, Soweto, Black Art Today Exhibition
1982 National Gallery, Gaborone, Botswana, Exhibition of South African Art
1985 Tributaries, touring South Africa and West Germany
1985 Joint exhibition with Sydney Kumalo, Cecil Skotnes and Edoardo Villa at the Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg

His work is represented in various private and national collections:
Durban Art Gallery
Johannesburg Art Gallery
Pretoria Art Museum
South African National Museum, Cape Town
University of Fort Hare
University of South Africa
University of the Witwatersrand
William Humphreys Art Gallery, Kimberley
Ezrom will not only be deeply missed by all his friends and family but also by those who never met him but who are lucky to have his work in their collections.
* IMAGES OF MAN, Contemporary South African Black Art and Artists,  EJ De Jager,  Fort Hare University Press,  First Edition 1992,  ISBN 1-86810-015-4