About The Artist
The tradition of black artists in South Africa has, until recently, been neglected. However, in the last ten years a new art history has developed from a growing awareness of the omissions of the past. At the forefront of this reassessment is the work of Gerard Sekoto.
Born on 9 December 1913 at Botshabelo, a German Lutheran Mission Station in the then Easten Transvaal, (now Bophuthatswane).
When Sekoto was five years old, his father was posted by the Lutheran Church to their mission school on the farm Wonderhoek, also in the Middelburg District. Here Sekoto spent his most formative years. He nurtured the memories of his rural childhood for the rest of his life, and in many of his letters he dwells at great length on the experiences of his youth and early family life. The love and security he was shown as a child were a source of solace and strength during the difficult years of his exile.
Sekoto started drawing early but did not have access to colour pencils until he was a teenager. The introduction to colour revolutionized his work. Periods of residence in Sophiatown, Johannesburg, District Six, Cape Town, and Eastwood, Pretoria produced vibrant and powerful pieces evoking both the colourful cultural activity and the tensions of the townships. The paintings from this time are historical records of a now extinct way of life. All three areas were bulldozed in the fifties and sixties. In 1947 Sekoto made the momentous decision to leave the country of birth and travel to Paris - like many voluntary and involuntary exiles, he was never to return to South Africa. France brought new inspiration and Sekoto re-worked many subjects and explored different themes, al characterized by a deep sense of humanity.
Towards the end of his life, Sekoto's art increasingly gained recognition mainly through the pioneering work of Barbara Lindop. Her research brought to life many paintings thought to have been lost, and, through her correspondence with Sekoto, she was able to confirm details of his life before his death in 1993. In this book, Lindop introduces the extraordinary life story of Gerard Sekoto accompanied by full colour plates of his most powerful, stirring works of art.
1913: Born 9 December at Lutheran Mission School at Botshabelo near Middelburg, Transvaal.
2013: Gerard Sekoto: Song for Sekoto, Wits Art Museum, Johannesburg
1999: Drawings by Gerard Sekoto from the Sowetan Collection - Solo exhibition, Standard Bank Gallery (January)
1987: Johannesburg Art Gallery
1984: South African National Gallery
1978: Galerie Art Premier, Paris
1975: Atlantic Gallery, Burg Street, Cape Town
1969: Christiane Colin Galerie, Île de Saint Louis, Paris
1967: Théâtre Daniel Sorano, Dakar, Senegal (exhibition with Wilson Tiberio)
1965: Adler Fielding Gallery, Johannesburg
1962: Adler Fielding Gallery, Johannesburg
1958 - 1959: Lawrence Adler Gallery, Johannesburg
1956: Galerie Art Premier, Paris
1954: lD Bookseller's Gallery, Church Square, Cape Town
1951: Exhibited in Stockholm, Sweden at Galerie Rålambshof with five other artists.
1950: One-man exhibition at the Vincent Gallery (Christies Gallery), Pretoria
1949: One-man exhibition at Galerie Else-Clausen, Paris
1948 – 1950:
1946: Gainsborough Gallery, Johannesburg
1945: Joint exhibition with the sculptor, Louis Maurice at the Jerome Gallery, Cape Town
1942: South African Academy of Art, Duncan Hall, Johannesburg
1941: South African Academy of Art, Selborne Hall, Johannesburg
AWARDS & ACHIEVEMENTS
1928: Won first prize for designing a badge for the school blazer - rewarded with a bible and five shillings.
1937: Won second prize in the 'May Esther Bedford Art Competition', organized by Fort Hare University College. First prize went to George Pemba.
1948: Sekoto’s painting used on poster for the Exhibition of South African Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture held at the Tate Gallery, London, UK etc.
1959: Sekoto’s poster chosen for the Second Congress of Negro Writers and Artists in Rome
1964: Awarded a prize at the Exhibition of African Art, Nemours, France
1968: Awarded XIXe Grand Prix International de Peinture de Deauville
1989: Honorary Doctorate awarded by the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.
1989: Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres
2003: Awarded the Order of the Ikhamanga (A South African Honour usually awarded by the President of South Africa for achievements in arts, culture, literature, music, journalism, and sports)
BOOKS PUBLISHED ON SEKOTO
Barbara Lindop, Gerard Sekoto, Randburg: Dictum Publishing, 1988
Barbara Lindop, Sekoto : The Art of Gerard Sekoto, Pavilion, London, 1995, ISBN 978-1-85793-461-8
N. Chabani Manganyi, A Black Man Called Sekoto, Witwatersrand University Press, January 1996, ISBN 978-1-86814-291-0
Spiro, Lesley, Gerard Sekoto: Unsevered Ties, Johannesburg Art Gallery, 1.11.1989-10.2.1990, The Gallery (1989), ISBN 978-0-620-14213-7
Chabani Manganyi, I Am an African: The Life and Times of Gerard Sekoto, Witwatersrand University Press; illustrated edition (Aug 1 2004), ISBN 978-1-86814-400-6
Website of South African Artists