Ink, Paper, Politics: The Agency of Print as Social Critique

  • Location: South African National Gallery
  • From: November 18, 2014     To: February 10, 2015
Ink, Paper, Politics: The Agency of Print as Social Critique
TOMMY MOTSWAI b.1963 Faith 1984 Linocut on paper Acc No: 92/37 Iziko South African National Gallery Presented by the Friends of the South African National Gallery

Ink, Paper, Politics
The Agency of Print as SOCIAL CRITIQUE

It is no coincidence that the vocabulary of printmaking techniques – the “acid” and “bite” in an etching, the “cut” in a woodblock – is also the language of attack.
Ralph Shikes, in The Indignant Eye, 1976

The graphic and serial nature of printmaking has, over the course of its complex evolution as a medium of art production, regularly lent itself to radical social and political commentary. The exhibition brings together a diverse cross-section of etchings, relief prints, lithographs and screen-prints from the South African National Gallery’s permanent gallery. Whether reportorial, satirical or more reflective in nature, all bear critical witness to the social and political conditions of the artist’s experience. Historical prints by Francisco de Goya, Georges Rouault and Käthe Kollwitz are presented in dialogue with the more recent social commentators – including works by artists such as Gavin Jantjes, Tommy Motswai, Nhlanhla Ben Nsusha and Diane Victor.

For enquiries, contact Andrea Lewis at

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