Grahamstown resident and art student Nyaniso Christopher Lindi has been selected as one of five emerging artists from South Africa to represent the country at the 7th Culture and Arts Festival of Songzhaung, in Beijing, China.
Lindi, who is studying towards a B.F.A. degree at Rhodes, is a versatile printmaker, with a repertoire which embraces subtractive colour relief, collage and forays into multimedia. Much of his work touches on autobiographical content, expressed in metaphorical imagery and dazzling colour contrasts.
The title of the art work selected for the Festival is "Interpretations". According to Lindi, it deals predominantly with issues of history, “particularly the colonial history and who wrote that history and its relevance to our contemporary issues”.
The work is a series of portraits depicting an historical icon (Makhanda/Makana, after whom the Municipality of Makana is named), and every portrait has been executed with various art techniques, such collage, embossment, weavings and so on.
Lindi is no stranger to accolades from the art world. Having studied art at Nombulelo High School in Grahamstown East, he was invited to work at Rhodes by Professor Dominic Thorburn, who wanted him to assist Master Printer Tim Foulds with the creation of graphic editions of works of Egazini artists.
Under the mentorship of Prof. Thorburn, now his supervisor, he later enrolled as a student and has not looked back.
In 2009 he was the winner of the prestigious Gerard Sekoto award for most promising artist with his colour reduction print entitled ‘Tribute to Noria Mabasa’. As the award winner he was able to take up the prize of a three month residence programme at the Cite Internationale des Arts in Paris.
At the time, Lindi explained that: “This is a great opportunity for me to explore the world and to learn about different cultures.”
The Songzhuang art district in the Chinese capital Beijing currently serves as a base for an estimated 2,000 artists and can be viewed as Beijing’s answer to New York’s Soho district.
The 7th Culture and Arts Festival of Songzhaung includes work from artists from eleven different countries. It has become an influential public welfare art activity in China, with the involvement of many artists, art experts and art institutions and is described as being on the cutting edge of culture both within China and the greater world.
Lindi’s work is appearing in an exhibition called African Style, which opened last week with an introduction by South African art historian Barbara Lindop.
Story by Jeannie McKeown
Picture by Sophie Smith
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