March 25, 2011

Art and the Moon: Engblom’s art attack.

Filed under: art,helgé janssen,peter engblom,reviews — ABRAXAS @ 7:12 am

What a fantastic evening AND the moon at its closest to the earth in two decades 19 March 2011. What a stunning venue – Khaya Lembali expertly managed by Helena tel: 082 9015931.

The venue is used for conferences, functions including weddings.


Khaya Lembali proved to be perfect as a setting to view Peters comprehensive photographic exhibition. This ‘art activist’ showing was a very welcome expansion on the Eshowe event and Peter certainly knows a thing or two when it comes to styling his inimitable ensemble instillation soirées. It was a hit!

Dave Starke opened the evening with perfectly pitched aplomb and after two solo acoustic numbers was joined by Shomon Daniel. Shomon absolutely dazzled using breath across her vocal chords as a maestro violinist might manifest the perfect pitch from strings. Her shamanistic take on standard songs banks on the malleability of her musical accompanist as much as it relies on her ability to intuitively connect with her audience. Give her any sentence and her vocal prowess will convert it into a musical line to remember. Shomon is a unique performer with a singular vocal technique that is Jazz focused and Trip Hop influenced. Don’t even try and box this artist….give her free reign and you will be delighted. Any talent scouts listening?

The Zululand Vikings (aka the Norwegian Field Band) spread their infectious expertise and swung their way into everyone’s hearts with flawless composure! Collectively they give new meaning to the term ‘band’ where they wield their trombones, tubas and and French horns as if born to do it! And do it they do!!

The exhibition was far more radical than the Eshowe display giving a broader insight into the range of Peter’s photographic visions. The beauty of the images is matched by the brilliance of his synthesis: the bringing together of seemingly disparate images to tell a contemporary tale so vital to modern South Africa.

Oh dear: ‘modern South Africa’? Is that an oxymoron? Well, I’ll leave you to ponder that. But one image slammed directly into my consciousness:

this one: (demand diamonds)

Certainly the pièce de résistance of the exhibition. Accessing virtually all of Peters obsessions: advertising, beauty, sloganeering, blackness, women, modernity, nostalgia, fashion, styling, painting (Tretchikoff?), a sense of period, irony, a wry interpretation of political correctness, everything comes into crystal focus in this win win manifestation.

And then a sharp art collector (David Gouldie) snapped up the entire range of Peter’s 9 cm X 5 cm photographic blocks – about 100 in all! Wow!

The snacks and eats flowed profusely making sure that the 150 odd guests were not only fed a diet of cutting edge culture. The delectable delights were of course enhanced (and how could I overlook this?) by the eye candy!

Peter Engblom is blazing a trail through Durban’s art scene. When next he exhibits one of his instillation soirées, break down and cry if you do not have an invite. Alternatively beg, steal, or kill to get one!

Also visit: ecomuse.co.za.

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