Beard and Weil galleries in the Watson Fine Arts Center are currently home to three exhibitions entitled “Unsettled: One Hundred Years of War and Resistance,” “Johannesburg in Print” and “The Planetarium of Black Indian Constellations.” Each exhibit tells a historical story or takes a stance on a current social issue through the use of diverse artistic mediums.
Cedric Nunn, the creator of “Unsettled,” is an accomplished photographer of the apartheid in South Africa. His previous work dealing with social issues has extended into his current exhibition, which is an an effort to educate the world about the history of the Xhosa people, who struggled between the years 1779 and 1879 to defend their land against colonial British and Afrikaner forces. Nunn photographs the land as it is now: often desolate and plain, far removed from the conflicts it has previously faced. His use of black and white prints draws the viewer’s attention to the forgotten historical past that Nunn hopes to bring to light.
Also from South Africa is “Johannesburg in Print,” a selection of seven contemporary works on paper from the David Krut Workshop (DKW) based in Johannesburg, Cape Town and New York. Both rising and established artists are invited to work with DKW to create works on paper in collaboration with the DKW master printer, Jillian Ross. DKW was created to provide artists with an official creative space for collaboration. The seven artists who are featured in the exhibit are Deborah Bell, Endale Desalegn, Faith47, Locust Jones, Vusi Khumalo and Senzo Shabangu.
The Weil gallery, located in the center of the Beard gallery, is designed to hold multi- media exhibitions. Currently, Weil houses a multi- media exhibit by James Montford, an artist whose work, like Nunn’s, is aimed at exploring social issues. Montford’s exhibit innovatively utilizes technology and print in order to portray his thoughts on issues of race. A piece entitled “One World” shows the silhouette of a globe against a black backdrop, drawing attention to how, regardless of race, all people are really the same.
Whether one visits the exhibits with the intention of delving into the meaning of each piece or simply to admire their aesthetic beauty, the images created by all of the featured artists will leave its viewer with a powerful impression.