Art & Artefacts

The collection comprises of a wide range of media and apart from paintings, mixed media and prints there are also a significant number of sculptures. Among the many artists represented in the collection are the following: David Hlongwane, Hamilton Budaza, Vuyisani Mgijima, Kweti Ndzube, Thami Kiti, Xolile Mtakatya, , Billy Mandindi , Norman Kaplan, Lionel Davis, Bill Davis, Tyrone Appollis, Sandra Kriel, Hilda Bernstein, Selma Waldman, Isaac Makeleni, Mphati Gocini, Naomi Jacobsen.

Abe Berry (1911-1992) produced editorial cartoons and political strips for The Star, then South Africa’s largest daily newspaper. He regularly lampooned the ruling National Party Government for their apartheid policies. His ‘day by day’ pieces were literally a daily record stretching over a period of more than 40 years.

In the 1980s, at the height of sanctions and the cultural boycott, a France-based association called Artists of the World Against Apartheid launched a global appeal to artists to contribute to a collection of anti-apartheid works. Ernest Pignon-Ernest of France and Antonio Saura of Spain worked two years to make it happen.
Assisted by the United Nations Special Committee Against Apartheid, the result was a magnificent collection from many of the world’s leading artists of the 1970s and 1980s. To name a few: Roy Lichtenstein, Ernest Pignon-Ernest, Jean Dewasne, Ngwenya Malangatana, Julio Le Parc, Erro, Wolf Vostell. Gavin Jantjes was the only South African contributing artist. The original exhibition also consists of text contributions by internationally acclaimed writers and philosophers .

The Art Contre/Art Against Apartheid exhibition at the Fondation Nationale des Arts Graphiques et Plastiques in Paris opened in November 1983. The intention was that the exhibition be held in trust and given to the people of South Africa on the achievement of ‘the first free and democratic government by universal suffrage’ to ‘form the basis of a future museum against apartheid’. Following the advent of democracy in April 1994, the collection was relocated to the Mayibuye Archives on the recommendation of then president Nelson Mandela.

The collection was displayed in Parliament from 1996 after the removal of many old apartheid art works and portraits., followed in 2010 by a selection of works shown as part of the ‘Home and Away’ exhibition curated by Carol Brown on behalf of the Ifa Lethu Foundation The exhibition was shown in Johannesburg (Constitutional Hill), Durban (Durban Art Gallery) Cape Town at IZIKO and also travelled to Canberra, Australia.

A varied collection of artefacts, which includes T-shirts, badges and stickers tell the story of apartheid and the mass resistance inside South Africa, as well as the International Anti-Apartheid Movements. A collection of more than 100 banners include banners produced and used at campaign platforms at local civic venues, historic conferences and cultural festivals.

The struggle was rich in iconic imagery as illustrated by a substantial collection of posters offering a fascinating visual history of grassroots campaigns and cultural events at home and abroad. The posters tell the story of mass resistance inside South Africa, as well as the International campaigns. The posters are artefacts that many South Africans may recognise, or may have had a hand in producing.

One of the biggest components are those originating from the Community Arts Project (CAP) in Salt River, Cape Town. CAP was a bustling art centre for many community organisations, and helped train activists and screen printed posters giving notice of mass marches, rallies, women’s groupings and other political meetings throughout the 1980s.