The flat of the land
/ 23 July 2010

The flat of the land

Photographer Marc Shoul’s black-and-white <i>Flatlands</i> finds moments of poignant silence in the hustle and bustle of the Johannesburg CBD.

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/ 12 December 2005

A New Paradigm

Nowadays, South Africa’s media training institutions all agree that students should be trained to think critically about the broad forces shaping a post-apartheid society. Sean O’Toole compares the curriculums and asks whether tuition is succeeding.

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/ 5 January 2005

Panacea or Peril?

Is private television’s role as an instrument of nation building in Africa being challenged by the profit motive of multinational broadcasters? Sean O’Toole investigates the arguments, with a focus on MultiChoice Africa. The local conglomerate also has a chance to respond.

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/ 23 June 2004

Speaking a New Language

Where once even the pictures were politically problematic, Afrikaans magazines are unburdening themselves of their historical legacy. Sean O’Toole writes that this sector reflects how the ideological purity of the language is splintering.

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/ 28 May 2004

Words are deeds

"A self-described "peripheral shit-stirrer", Boshoff cannot but be aware of the neurosis invoked by his defining physical feature. But then Boshoff, arguably the country’s foremost conceptual artist, has always pursued his own anonymity as ruthlessly as he has courted controversy." Sean O’Toole on how conceptual artist and eccentric Willem Boshoff’s new exhibition unearths the risky politics of the written word.

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/ 7 May 2004

Portraits of the personal shift

Looking recently at a photograph by David Goldblatt of Mugabe, I was struck by the dignified presence of the seated leader, writes Sean O’Toole. In an exhibition titled <i>Staged Realities</i>, curators Kathy Grundlingh and Michael Stevenson elegantly juxtapose competing ways of seeing and representing African identity in photography.

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/ 5 April 2004

Burden of whiteness

‘It is not very nice being white in South Africa if you’re young, even though I’m not a racist and had nothing to do with apartheid ever," reads an anonymous comment posted on the website. It is by no means a lone assertion. Ten years into democracy, Sean O’Toole wonders if white South Africans are ready to transform their collective identity.

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/ 17 March 2004

Continental heavies

This month <i>The Media</i> goes out on a thin limb to suggest the ten most influential media bosses on the African continent. The list is compiled by Sean O’Toole and Kevin Bloom, in consultation with Professor Tawana Kupe, and is based on criteria including economic muscle, political authority and cultural clout.

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/ 30 January 2004

Shooting to kill

There is something perversely appealing about the photograph, the complexity we graft on to that ostensibly simple thing. Since its birth in the 19th century, the photograph has fascinated and perplexed us in equal measures. So much so we now call it art. Which presented a bit of problem to the organisers of the 2004 DaimlerChrysler Art Award, writes Sean O’Toole.

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/ 17 October 2003

The new dealers

The vagaries of change have been profitable for a youthful breed of entrepreneurial art dealers, tastemakers whose influence has shaped who and what is being collected in the post-apartheid era. A new breed of savvy tastemakers are making their mark on the art scene, writes Sean O’Toole.