BEST OF 2021: VUT FINE ART STUDENTS ORGANISE A SUCCESSFUL ART EXHIBITION
By Lebohang Radebe 20 April 2022
It has become a tradition at the beginning of each year, that Fine Art students at the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) in the Visual Arts and Design Department work as a collective in organizing an art exhibition that consists of the best artworks of the previous year. This initiative is part of the Art Management module offered from the first year to the third year of the Diploma in Fine art.
This module aims to introduce fundamental concepts and application of art management and entrepreneurial skills in the Visual Arts/Fine Art setting/related field of study.
The initial stages of the exhibition entailed a collaboration between 1styear, 2nd and 3rd year students in planning the exhibition at the university’s Bodutu Art Gallery.
This is an Annual Fine Art student exhibition which focuses on preparing students for the world of work in the Visual Arts industry. The process also required 3rd year students to apply and attend interviews according for different roles such as curators and technical operators, amongst others.
On the other hand, this assisted newly registered 1st year students to adapting and learn more about Fine Art professional practice.
According to Lebohang Radebe, 1st year Fine Arts Coordinator; lecturers – assisted by students – selected the best artworks from the previous year during the final evaluations of the previous year. “The selection criteria are based on presentation, the level of innovative techniques utilized, a portrayal of professionalism and diligence,” said Lebohang.
Sibusiso Mhlanga – Fine Art: 1st year student, said “the Fine Art Student exhibition was an experience like no other.” He learnt valuable skills such as having multiple tasks and handing out instruction, not just to curators but technical staff as well.
“The art exhibition taught me that giving instructions to people will not be enough as you need them to understand your vision,” he said. Sibusiso further mentioned that during the planning phase, he learned that a person must surround him/herself with those that share the same vision and want to carry it out to the best of their ability rather than someone helping for convenience as the event portrays each person as an individual with a capability to carry out visions.
Warren Motswadi, 2nd Fine Art student, said organizing the exhibition opened his eyes regarding many roles that form part of organizing a show with regards to his role as a curator. He said: “my role was to display and coordinate the work done by other groups because as a curator, I have to oversee what everyone is doing. It helped me improve my communication skills, leadership, time management and the importance of each role in the value chain”.
The artworks displayed are two-dimensional (drawings, paintings, and surface prints) and three-dimensional (sculpture, ceramics, and product design). The revolving themes throughout the exhibited works are centred around identity, culture, political articles, etc.
This annual exhibition has been a success since 2013 and is expected to improve every year.