Art expo explores future of comics

Bridget van Oerle & Sneziwe Dube 

The Art of Comics exhibition, a showcase of the best South African and Francophone comics is on show at the Johannesburg Art Gallery until 17 November. 

  The exhibition looks at the fine detail, subtle nuance and rich tapestry that can be found in South African and French-speaking comics today. 

  Collaboration between the Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG), the French Embassy and the French Institute of South Africa, The Art of Comics completes its gallery run and workshop programme on 17 November. 

  The November programme, entitled Beyond the Page, looks to the future of comics with workshops featuring artists Loyiso Mkize, author of Kwezi, Kay Carmichael, the artist behind web comic Sophie Giant Slayer and Mogorosi Motshumi author and cartoonist of The Initiation

  While looking at the many forms comics can take and the practical side of creating comics, all three artists also address the future of comics.

  Many workshops for both adults and children were organised on various topics, from the history and techniques of comics to virtual reality comics and animation. 

  An educational supplement designed in collaboration with artist and cartoonist Nas Hoosen was distributed to all learners who participated in the workshops. 

  Total South Africa organised a special school programme throughout October, and sponsored and hosted 800 learners from primary schools selected from Soweto. The learners are treated to The Art of Comics exhibition tour and culture experience, including a workshop about the production of comical art. 

  “We believe that development of artistic talent needs to be nurtured from a young age, and as part of our strategy we embark on these experiences with young learners in the hope that they will be inspired to create artistic pieces and perhaps realize their talent and even build careers out of this experience,” said Nyameka Makonya, Corporate Social Investment Manager at Total South Africa. 

  The first exhibition of its kind at JAG, The Art of Comics has been running since 19 September 2019 and invites visitors to explore the rich variety of contemporary South African comics and graphic novels that explore themes related to history, folklore, science fiction, autobiography and new developments in the field, such as augmented reality comics. The exhibition also includes a special section on French Speaking Comics Today. 

  The exhibition is curated by Raymond Whitcher, Tara Weber and Thierry Groensteen, one of France’s leading bande dessinée researchers and theorists. 

  It features works from South African artists including Mogorosi Motshumi, Joe Daly, Loyiso Mkize, Nas Hoosen, Daniel Clarke, Daniël Hugo, Tasmin Naidoo, Luke Molver and Kay Carmichael, as well as some of the best French bandes dessinées artists including Riad Sattouf, Pénélope Bagieu, and Lewis Trondheim. 

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