Beauty, culture, colonialism and the purpose of art

Ruth HartleyAesthetics, Art Process, Colonialism, Creativity, Festival, Hamera and Hartley, Installations, m’Other Art, Religion, Visual Arts3 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 HartleyAesthetics, Art Process, Colonialism, Creativity, Education, Mpapa Gallery, Visual Arts, 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 HartleyAesthetics, Art Process, Colonialism, Creativity, Mpapa Gallery, Southern Africa, Visual Arts, 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 […]

Writing, art and the rewriting of history

Ruth Hartley Storytelling, Apartheid, Art Process, Colonialism, South Africa, Southern Africa, The Shaping of Water, The Tin Heart Gold Mine, Truth, Visual Arts, 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 […]

The River’s Story

Ruth Hartley Storytelling, Colonialism, Illustration, Imagination, Power, Southern Africa, The Love and Wisdom Crimes, The Shaping of Water, Truth, Visual Arts, Zambia4 Comments

We all own the River. That’s what we believe. The world of nature is ours and we can do what we like with it. The River belongs to us. We can use it – we can waste it – we can worship it. Not one of these ways of looking at the River tells us what it means to be […]