The Mirca Art Group in Cape Town, April 2010
Opening speech by Belinda van der Merwe
This exhibition is a traveling show which is comprised of Mirca Artists.
Mirca is a world wide group of creative people who are making Art to create
awareness of the political prisoner, Aung San Suu Kyi, who should have been the
Burmese Prime Minister but has been under house arrest for the last 14 of 20
years. You can follow her timeline going up the stairs to the Gallery which
explains more of her history.
It has been encouraging to see the response from both International and local artists to the Rainbow Experience's call to artists to participate in the “FREEDOM & ART \x94 Exhibition. We are exhibiting over 50 artists who work in a variety of different materials which all relate to the idea of liberation. The plight of Aung San Suu Kyi is one that is close to our hearts as South Africans, who look to Nelson Mandela as an inspiration for freedom and who instils hope and optimism throughout the world. It made sense to combine the travelling Freedom and Art Exhibition, which supports Aung San Suu Kyi with our 16th national anniversary of South Africa’s Freedom Day.
Art is a powerful, expressive way to reach each other and create awareness in a non-violent manner. Many of these artists have donated works from Italy, Spain, Hungary, Germany, Sweden, Belgium, UK and USA and it has been delightful to see how many South Africans have joined this group and who are committed to creating awareness to end tyranny and who understand the importance of civil liberties, freedom of expression, beliefs, religion, sexual orientation, freedom from oppression and basic freedom of thought.
At the heart of freedom is tolerance and respect for one's self and acceptance of others' diversity of culture in a compassionate manner.
We would like to thank Justice Albie Sachs for being our Guest speaker tonight. He has, as all of us know, been at the forefront in the struggle for Freedom and justice in South Africa.
Message from the Mirca Art Group
Dear South-African artists and citizens,
Dear visitors of the Rainbow Experience,
Tonight a very special event is going to take place in Cape Town. It's not only the opening of an art exhibition - it's also the celebration of freedom and human rights. By inviting Mirca's "Freedom & Art" - travelling exhibition from New York to your town on the occasion of a very meaningful holiday, YOU made it this special event. From the bottom of our hearts we say thank you very much for doing so!
As far as we know, FREEDOM DAY celebrates freedom and commemorates the first democratic post-Apartheid elections held on that day in 1994, when Nelson Mandela was elected as President of South Africa.
Freedom Day marks the liberation of South Africa and its people from a long period of colonialism and white minority domination. For South Africans, just being able to vote is precious and for many it was one of the most memorable days of their lives.
We think that personalities such as Nelson Mandela, Albie Sachs, Aung San Suu Kyi, His Holiness, The Dalai Lama, and a few others, REALLY know what the simple word "freedom" is all about. Thanks to people like we mentioned here this world got a bit closer to paradise - rather than to hell.
Be sure that the democratic world is watching you tonight - and artists from around the world will be with you in spirit. Have a wonderful opening of the "F & A" - show - enjoy the artworks - and have a great week of celebrations!
Asztalos, Krisztina, Hungary
Bonnici, Martin, Australia
Goevert, Hego, Germany
Goldberg, Carla, USA
Rimell, Bruce, UK
Tunedal, Stefan, Sweden (Mirca Council)
Photos from the show
‘FREEDOM & ART: FREE ART \x96 ART WITHOUT BOUNDARIES\x92
EXHIBITION AT THE RAINBOW EXPERIENCE
The Rainbow Experience at Mandela Rhodes Place is privileged to be hosting the ‘Freedom and Art\x92 international exhibition for one month from April 28th 2010. Complementing this exhibition are the works of 30 local artists who show their pieces as \x93 Free art \x96 Art without Boundaries\x94
The International traveling exhibition (from the Mirca Group) has come to South Africa and features artists from all over the world. In support of Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Prize-winning peace activist who stands for the rights of individuals, freedom and democracy in the face of a brutal dictatorship in Burma, this exhibition will move and inspire you.
Proceeds from sales will be split between Amnesty International, the Artists and the Gallery. Therefore by patronizing the Arts your purchase will be going towards helping Aung San Suu Kyi.
Launching the exhibition, struggle icon, Judge Albie Sachs, stressed the importance of the works in their depiction of the human right of freedom.
He spoke about the unrest after the Chris Hani assassination in 1992 and how Archbishop Tutu had called for peace as “The rainbow nation of God\x94. (And)How this affirmative projection of a “rainbow people\x94 at a moment of crisis had given people hope and the (this) concept has become our strength. The link between human rights and creativity brings people together internationally and in honoring Aung San Suu Kyi with this exhibition and the addition of local exhibits we underscore an international voice calling for her freedom. Judge Sachs concluded that this poignant event, though small , has resonance throughout the world and brings together all that is happening so that cumulatively the impact can make a difference.
Guests were invited to write messages of hope and freedom on rice paper fire lanterns which, as a special dedication to Aung San Suu Kyi, will be released in Cape Town in the near future. at the end of the exhibition, please come and add your messages while you peruse the Art.
The exhibition in Cape Town features 20 of the international artists joined by submissions from 30 local artists, which is curated by Belinda van der Merwe and Vicki Murphy. Included in the local line up are Tay Dall, Solly Snook and Phinias Ghirubve, in a variety of mixed media works. Celebrating our own Freedom Day and 16 years of democracy the combination of international and local artists is a powerful representation of how art and freedom are intertwined and a strong reminder of how far South Africa has traveled.
The international traveling exhibition consists of artwork by 74 talented artists representing 27 countries from around the world, they are all part of the Mirca Group, an online artists community (which is free to join online www.mirca-art.com) and all are recorded in the book ‘Freedom & Art. The book will be on sale along with the 20 exhibited works sent here by some of these artists. Most of the artists have never met face to face, but share one common interest, a passion for freedom and art.
Carla Goldberg from Nelsonville, NY, USA, one of the international artists featured in the Cape Town exhibition, shares her feelings in the book: “Freedom is the ability to speak or create from the heart without harsh governmental reprisals.\x94
Linda Bayer Domanski from Westbrookville, NY, USA adds: “Freedom to bask in the elemental, to be still and find rest.\x94
Another moving quote taken from artist Inaya Hodeib from Lebanon, who features in the book: “My life line so far has taken me through five brutal wars, both civil and invasive. I’ve seen a lot of people dying and killing in the name of a cause that they think would bring them freedom. But sadly, freedom is not a physical entity and alas, death brings forth more bloodshed. Freedom is a state of mind, a simple feeling of gratitude, and a divine happiness that one can find no matter how dark and deep the pit is. Freedom cannot be taken or bought, it is only made and felt from within\x94.
View the documentary ‘Freedom & Art Exhibition\x92 in New York on Youtube \x96 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXUFOAdzhbs
For more information, please contact Belinda van der Merwe on 021 422 1428 or email@example.com
The exhibition is at The Rainbow Experience, Mandela Rhodes Place, Church St. Cape Town from April 28 to May 28
ABOUT THE RAINBOW EXPERIENCE GALLERY
Drawing inspiration from both our remarkable heritage as well as modern influences, the art gallery on the mezzanine level of The Rainbow Room concept store has an extensive selection of images by emerging contemporary South African artists. The Gallery builds on the vibrant and creative atmosphere of The Rainbow Experience with a wide selection of contemporary art and functional art including handcrafted jewellery, ceramics & gifts.
The artworks are sourced both in the western cape and throughout South Africa. Some artworks are sourced from Cape Town's Michaelis Art school giving young an emerging artists and opportunity to get exposure and offering visitors fresh approaches from young aspiring artists.
A selection of these works are regularly exhibited, which is open free to the public. Exhibitions will be held every two months from February 2010.
The Gallery features some of South Africa's finest artists' including Solly Smook, Thembinkosi Kholi, Imiso, Toni Spiller-Burton, Kevin de Klerk, Tay Dall, Leon Müller, Leon van Zyl and Koos de Wet.
The gallery is managed by Vicky Murphy and is open from 9am-6pm Mon \x96 Fri and Saturdays from 9-3 and Sundays 10-2.
The gallery sells a variety of artworks in both small and large formats. Canvas paintings can be removed from frame to allow for convenient travel. Our gallery can arrange for delivery worldwide. We also offer a professional bubble wrap service.
We accept CASH & MASTER VISA DINERS AMEX