An exhibition about humanity could have many interpretations, but for Berea gallery owner and potter Louise Pietrucci the essence of the word is kindness, a trait especially appropriate for Women’s Month.
“The Humanity exhibition is about putting kindness back into the world. If you start the day being kind to somebody, it usually comes back to you. So often we see a story in the press or on TV, where people become statistics and we forget there are people at the centre of the news of the day. We forget that there is humanity in everyone.”
Pietrucci, who is in the middle of her honours year in psychology at the University of Fort Hare, said although the exhibition at CVD Framers and Art Gallery was not a rape protest, it conveyed the message that the onus was on men to treat women humanely and not on women to take measures to prevent rape. “I think at the moment it is men’s responsibility to act more humanely,” she said.
Walking the Dispatch around the small, sunny gallery, Pietrucci pointed out works by East London artists and sculptors whose works depict humanity in its many forms.
A photo-realistic pencil drawing of 19th century French architect Charles Garnier by Kendal Ann Enslin hangs comfortably alongside an oil on canvas by award-winning artist Mziwoxolo Makalima of children playing in an urban setting. Makalima’s work is also represented by a piece featuring mourners and another showing musicians. Nearby a powerful woodcut print called Neglect by Thembinkosi Qeqe shows a faceless, forgotten young girl standing forlornly in front of a sad, closed off female face.
A contemplative ceramic face mask with kind eyes by Bernard Barry gazes at the viewer; a pair of Daniel Mooy’s oils on canvas called Pseudo Revolutionary Wannabe and Digital Dissident appear to be creating themselves, paint brushes in hand. “These works depict so many different spheres of life,” said Pietrucci. “They represent all aspects of humanity and they are all local because I believe in promoting local art.”
l Humanity is at CVD Framers and Art Gallery in Berea until the end of September.