South African Journal of Cultural History

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Voices of visual artists from Greater Tshwane: a historiography and expectations of the future

F van Staden


In preparation for an art exhibition of local artists in May 2010, a qualitative descriptive survey was conducted on the views of 24 visual artists residing in Greater Tshwane, on practicing their art over the past decades, as well as their perceptions of present realities and future challenges. The findings indicate that the artists continue to experience a lack of support from both government and the private sector in helping to market their work, to provide accessible skills development opportunities and to support community outreach initiatives undertaken by the artists. Concerns were raised by the participants about issues such as the effectiveness of art education in schools; the implementation of funding policies; and the defining role of academics, curators and gallery owners on selection panels and access opportunities in the art market. Attention was also paid to the participant artists’ views on sources of inspiration and the broad thematic content of their work. Since democratisation in 1994, their inspirations have transformed from a strong struggle content to expressions of peace, harmony, spirituality along with cultural homage. The interrelatedness of the human condition with the universe through the surrounding natural and cultural-physical world, is a notable recurring theme.

Key words: art inspirations, artists’ concerns, cultural history, Greater Tshwane artists, Tshwane artists, visual arts

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