Charge: Members R20 Non-members R40
Booking is essential: Numbers are limited. Phone Anita Arnott at 011 795 4056 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On the Trail of Qing and Orpen opened at the Standard Bank Gallery at the end of January 2016. The exhibition examines the history of a well-known article, titled 'A glimpse into the mythology of the Maluti Bushmen', published by Cape colonial official Joseph Orpen in the Cape Monthly Magazine in 1874. The article was based on stories and cultural information recorded by Orpen from a bushman guide named Qing in the Maloti mountains of what is now Lesotho. Since the 1970s, Orpen's article has become foundational to the interpretation of southern African rock art. But relatively little has been done to put it in the context of its times. This is one of the aims of the exhibition. It is curated by Justine Wintjes, with the assistance of Jill Weintroub and John Wright. The opening of the exhibition was marked by the launch of a book with the same title, published by the Standard Bank Gallery as a separate project. Written by scholars from the disciplines of folklore studies, linguistics, archaeology, art history, and history, it contains seven essays that aim to place the making of Orpen's article in a wider context than has previously been done. The walkabout will be conducted by Weintroub and Wright, both of whom wrote chapters for the book as well as being involved in putting the exhibition together. An exhibition by Cyril Coetzee, titled 'Air: Inspiration - Expiration', will be on at the same time upstairs. Members might like to take the opportunity to see both exhibitions.
John Wright is a historian whose main research interest is the history of KwaZulu-Natal and neighbouring regions in the era before colonial rule. He is an Honorary Research Associate in the Archive and Public Culture Research Initiative at the University of Cape Town. Jill Weintroub's research focuses on the trajectory of bushman studies inaugurated by Bleek and Lloyd in the 1870s, and continued by Dorothea Bleek through the first half of the twentieth century. It asks what this scholarship can reveal about the history of thought in the early South African academy, as reflected in the emerging disciplines of archaeology, rock art interpretation and anthropology. Jill's biography on Dorothea Bleek, 'A Life of Scholarship', published by Wits University Press, appeared earlier this year. Both John and Jill are Honorary Research Fellows in the Rock Art Research Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand.