Alex Flett: Limited edition prints 2005 to 2007.
During this period much time was spent in Durban where a series of new prints were created at the Durban University of Technology School of Fine Art. These joined earlier works which had been influenced by, or made through in South Africa as the core of the Durban Odyssey solo exhibition at the Durban University of Technology Gallery in late 2007, and the two person show (with the artist Meg Walker) at the Cairns Gallery in Peebles, Scotland, in 2008.
Above left: Africa in Chains. Above Centre: Three Graces. Above right: The Judgement of Paris.
Edition size ten. Paper size 100 x 70 cms. Fabriano Ivore.
“Since 2000 I have had a long and for the most part fruitful relationship with South Africa and South African artists and students. Not fruitful in the financial sense but fruitful in terms of the many artists young and old whom I have met and found rapport with, something which in many ways that can be far more important than any financial repayment.”
Below left: Back. Below centre: Mother and Daughter. Below right: Zulu.
“The prints created in this period were illustrative more than anything else and that seemed very important at the time as they were about absorption of the new. Around every corner and around every turn in the road there was a new element to assimilate and it became important to me to record that in some way. A print such as Zulu however is more than an illustration. It was done in reaction to hearing the story of Rorke’s Drift. Not the battle there which became a movie, but the fact that a print workshop was established there where black artists got a chance to create prints in mediums they were banned from using. Etching for example, where the press for which was hidden under a kitchen table; meanwhile the baths and other equipment looked like normal kitchen utensils. A major reason for the quality of Relief printing being so high in South Africa, whether created in craft workshops aimed more at the tourist market, or taught in art schools for the art market, is that it was the only form of printing allowed by the Apartheid government which black artists were allowed to use. Therefore, even now, when artists from all sections of the community can use any medium they like, Relief printing has many high quality exponents and I am indebted to the artist (and former student of printmaking at DUT School of Fine Art) Mfunde Xabo for his technical help in creating these works. Also to Nontobeko Ntombela who as Curator at the DUT Gallery exhibited them in a place where the standard of the medium is so very high, and to the artist Jan Jordaan for opening up the DUT printmaking department for me to use.”
“This work stemmed from a drawing made in the countryside of KwaZulu-Natal. A line of women were weeding and rather than bending at the knee, they bent only from the waist which seemed extraordinary to me, and created this wonderful balanced, almost balletic shape.”