Corner of Bertha & Jorissen Streets
Wednesday – Sunday
10:00 – 16:00 Visit Website
Wits Art Museum is home to an extraordinary collection of African art, including contemporary and historical art from South Africa and art from West and Central Africa.
The Museum is one of Johannesburg’s premier tourist attractions, along with the Apartheid Museum and Constitution Hill. It is part of the Wits University Cultural Precinct, just three blocks from Nelson Mandela Bridge.
Leeto: A Sam Nhlengethwa Print Retrospective surveys the print work of renowned artist Sam Nhlengethwa from 1978 to 2018. Leeto is a seTswana/seSotho word for ‘journey’ and, as the word suggests, the exhibition explores the ongoing artistic footsteps of Nhlengethwa.
Nhlengethwa began his career in 1976 during one of South Africa’s most tumultuous socio-political eras. In 1978, he completed a two-year diploma at the Evangelical Lutheran Church Art and Craft Centre, Rorkes Drift, Kwa-Zulu Natal, where printmaking was a prominent feature in the Centre’s activities. Nhlengethwa’s work spans a variety of mediums from painting, drawing to collage, some of his works have been translated into tapestries.
One of his big cityscape works was translated into a mosaic. In addition to all the afore-mentioned mediums, Nhlengethwa has also produced an impressive and sizeable body of printmaking work. He has collaborated with several South African printmaking studios; namely, The Artists’ Press, Artist Proof Studio, David Krut Print Workshop, LL Editions Fine Art Lithography Studio, MK & Artists Print Workshop, Mo Editions Printmaking Studio and Sguzu Printmaker’s Workshop.
Since 1994, he has produced 163 prints in collaboration with The Artists’ Press making it his longest standing and most productive affiliation. His lithographs, linocuts, etchings, photogravures and screen prints tackle various socio-political and cultural experiences. Thus, Leeto highlights this facet of Nhlengethwa’s artistic practice in which printmaking is mobilised for self-expression, collaborations, artistic and intellectual engagements, and a site for conversations with the broader public.
The underpinning theme of the exhibition is jazz. An early influence in Nhlengethwa’s works was the underground township jazz community; Nhlengethwa’s brother was a jazz musician and he began collecting jazz records at the age of 17. Leeto: A Sam Nhlengethwa Print Retrospective draws links between the fluid nature of jazz improvisation and Nhlengethwa’s study of an ever-changing community. Not only is it a recurrent theme in his work and something that Nhlengethwa loves and is inspired by, but jazz begins to articulate the various possibilities for a
deeper understanding and reading of his oeuvre.
Asking the question “What else can Nhlengethwa’s images offer us?” the exhibition presents a collection of Nhlengethwa’s print work to be interrogated, his artistic evolution to be mapped out and his personal aesthetics to be interpreted.
142 Jan Smuts Ave
142A Jan Smuts Avenue
163 Jan Smuts Avenue
155 Jan Smuts Avenue
Cnr Melle and De Korte Streets
Corner of Juta of De Beer Streets
10 De Beer Street
2 Bolton Road