Beauty, culture, colonialism and the purpose of art

Ruth HartleyArt, Art Process, Colonialism, Creativity, Installations, Religion3 Comments

Can standards of beauty be imposed on artists? What is beauty and is it an essential part of art? Is there such a thing as a universal standard of beauty in art? I ask because the questions are relevant to discussions about the impact of colonialism on indigenous cultures. That’s an enormous subject and there won’t be any quick or […]

Art, beauty, colonialism and Mpapa Gallery

Ruth HartleyArt, Art Process, Colonialism, Creativity, Education, Mpapa Gallery, Zambia6 Comments

Discussion about art and beauty – and art and colonisation – is challenging. My past connection with Zambia and Mpapa Gallery, and my present connection with post-colonialism and my own art are about how I live my life. It has been said that Mpapa Gallery was colonial in its support for artists. Mpapa Gallery wasn’t and couldn’t be colonial for […]

Aesthetics, colonialisation of culture, and Mpapa Gallery

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Art, Art Process, Colonialism, Creativity, Mpapa Gallery, ZambiaLeave a Comment

A time of discovery and learning Looking back at Mpapa Gallery we faced several important challenges which will interest Zambian artists today. The fact that the gallery was run by three practising African artists – me, Ruth Hartley, Cynthia Zukas, Patrick Mweemba, and started by Joan Pilcher, who had studied art at the Evelyn Hone College meant that we were […]

BLACK LIVES MATTER and Zambian art history

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Apartheid, Art, Art Process, Colonialism, Creativity, Freedom Fighters, Human rights, Mpapa Gallery, Politics, Power, Printmaking, Race, Racism, South Africa, War, Zambia2 Comments

Black lives have always mattered – not just since the crisis of George Floyd’s murder. Everyone I worked with in Zambia had always felt the same about the fight against racism and it was fundamental to my own art and my work with Zambian artists. Black lives have mattered for centuries Mpapa Gallery and the best art possible In 1984 […]

Writing, art and the rewriting of history

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Apartheid, Art, Art Process, Colonialism, South Africa, Storytelling, The Shaping of Water, The Tin Heart Gold Mine, Truth, War5 Comments

I’ve had to learn a different history I grew up during the British Empire when Cecil John Rhodes was the hero of school history but I had a great teacher. She was a cynical idealist who toed no party lines. At Cape Town University under the Rhodes Memorial, I followed up her questioning style and explored a more radical history […]