Semi-Gloss

Seen on July 4, 2016 @ National Arts Festival

Every bit of surface is used to promote that one show that you definitely can not miss. With hundreds of productions over eleven days and hardly a moment to breath for the local printing shops the amount of paper that remains long after all the festivo’s have gone is enormous.

Reason enough for Francois Knoetze to make another statement about littter, inequality and what is left at Grahamstown. After his thought provoking statues and documentary Cape Mongo last year he is at it again collaborating with Grahamstown artists Siyabonga Bawuti, Monwabisi Dondashe and Athenkosi Nyikilana and Caydon van Eyck.

Part documentary, part performance art Semi-Gloss invites the public into a workshop where different animals come alive as giant glossy paper maché creatures that can be spotted roaming around Grahamstown and creating a stir.

Following the trail of these extrodinary creatures you see them hovering around the black stricken landscape at Mountain Drive (a desolate sight after the recent veldbrand), climbing their way to the Monument (a much debate edifice to commemorate the arrival of the Settlers in 1820 and a remembrance of the war against the Xhosa people), playing around at the Botanical Garden, posing on the playground of an abonded school in Joza and wandering through Extension 10 on the East side of town, their very presence a very personification of the surrealism of litter.

The money and paper spent on promotion is questioned further along the way when the artists are seen at work in their own community and wonder about the sincerity and budgets allocated to local artists. Promises of help from institutions and individual students contradict a do-it-yourself creativity that shows the passion that drives these artists to be seen and noticed.

Photography by: @francknoetz

Semi-Gloss