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Co/MIX 2011 ‘An outstanding Highlight’

July 29, 2011

“The Co/Mix Pavillion was one of the outstanding highlights of this year’s Festival. It helped us significantly to attract a younger and more diverse audience to the Monument.” Ismail Mahomed, NAF Festival Director
After eight months of preparation and five days and nights of non-stop hanging and hammering away at the first ever comic art exhibition at the National Arts Festival, Co/Mix opened its doors on Thursday 30 June 2011. Curated and coordinated by Pete Woodbridge, Elaine Woodbridge, Lieve Vanleeuw and Andy Mason, Co/Mix consisted of an exhibition of 23 South African and 6 international comic artists, 16 workshops, 3 seminars, a gallery-shop, a graffiti mural and a Toon-a-day in the daily Cue Newspaper.

The exhibition represented a mix of established comic artists like Zapiro, Anton Kannemeyer and Rico who have developed a strong critical voice over the last few decades, and young guns like the Trantraal Brothers and Su Opperman who are fast and furiously becoming the new generation of razor sharp critique. However, the exhibition not only represented these critical voices but also a growing contingent of comic artists who are resolutely moving towards exploring different aspects of graphic narrative. Masha du Toit, Willem Samuel, Mogorosi Motshumi, Jeff Rankin and Andrew Mogridge each explored “a narrative” through a different medium: an autobiography, a short story, an installation with visuals and sound, a mini-cosmos in a glass jar. Elaine Woodbridge and Joanne Bloch delved into the dark corners of conceptual art and delivered mind-boggling works. And others added the joy of entertainment and provided a sparkle that made visitors leave with a chuckle and a chirp. Pete Woo’s fury monster was definitely the most photographed and sought after celebrity of the entire show.

JP Kalonji of  Geneva received many requests to sell his watercolour works. Unfortunately, he is saving them for the launch of his upcoming graphic novel African Suite (watch this space for more info). Erik Kriek, from Amsterdam, joined Kalonji to facilitate the hugely popular Toonlab and Masterclass aka the infamous Cartoon Boot Camp. Ephameron produced 6 small water colours during her stay in Grahamstown. Also very busy was Maia Matches from Amsterdam whose Crap* workshops where zines are made from scratch to last an eternity in the underground sewers of comic art were enthusiastically attended. The throne – literally and figuratively in the middle of the exhibition – was Joelle Flumet’s Broken Bed, understood by few, enjoyed by many.  And last but not least, the esteemed French BD maestro Jacques Loustal exhibited work from his previous travels. He was here on a South African sojourn during which he began a series of works  that will be published in South Africa next year as part of the French Embassy’s 2012 French Season.

The combination of a mixed media exhibition with practical workshops, a gallery-shop with small reproductions and commercial art, graffiti art on a wall in town – and a hardworking yet entertaining crew – was the success formula that made Co/Mix 2011 “one of the outstanding highlights of this year’s National Arts Festival”.

The CCIBA, Words & Images and Woomen wish to thank our participating artists, the workshop participants, the NAF crew and especially Adriano Giovanelli , Pro Helvetia, The Flemish Community, The Flemish Fund for Literature, IFAS, the Dutch Fund for Visual Art, Design and architecture and everyone else for their enthusiasm and contribution to the success of Co/Mix 2011.

For more pics check the CCIBA website or CCIBA Facebook page


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