Visual Century Volume Three: 1972–1993

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More About This Title Visual Century Volume Three: 1972–1993


Visual Century: South African Art is a four-volume publication that reappraises South African visual art of the 20th century from a postapartheid perspective. It is the only publication that provides an overview of a century of South African art, with in-depth discussion by leading art historians and reproduction of a large number of artworks, providing readers with fresh perspectives on complexities that still resonate today.
Bracketed by porous transitional moments in the early 1970s and 1990s, this third volume covers a period characterized by a deepening of the struggle for democracy, a time when historical preoccupations with race were increasingly complemented with growing discourses on class and gender. The chapters address the multiplicity of ways in which artists responded directly and indirectly to the challenges of this period, mostly as individuals but also through organizations. Resistance and complicity, and the spaces between, found expression in the use of everyday themes, biblical sources, ethnically derived themes, subtle and extreme forms of humor, as well as through representations of conflict are all explored. This is a period when challenging art was produced in community arts centers, universities and in public places, a time when the cultural boycott simultaneously united and polarized artists, and exiles mediated the ambivalences of ‘home.’


Mario Pissarra is a historian and writer currently based in Cape Town. He is the founder and managing director of the Africa South Art Initiative and an honorary research associate at the University of Cape Town.