19 October 2010 by Dianne Tipping-Woods

The (he)ART of the nation

With a blank page and a broad brief - to write about art and entertainment in South Africa - starting was always going to be difficult. What makes it a little easier is the fact that

a) I love my subject. Music, dance, theatre, art and literature are hugely important to me - infusing my sense of self, my sense of place, and my perspective on life in South Africa.

b) South Africa pulses with talent. We have rich, dynamic identities and cultures that find expression through many genres.

South Africa’s art asserts who we are and who we want to be, where we live and how we die, what we cherish and what we strive for. It reflects our dreams and our realities. It’s the (he)art of the nation.

What makes art so powerful?

Don Maclennan, a favourite English lecturer of mine, and in my opinion, one of South Africa’s greatest poets, used to regularly quote Sidney Clouts (another wonderful South African poet), that “Poetry is death cast out.”

This line has stayed with me over the years - and for me is as true of art in general as it is of poetry. Its life-affirming echo resonates through the creative work of our writers, musicians, artists and dancers as they question, probe, critique, explore and expound on themes drawn from every-day South African life in a myriad of genres.

South Africa’s art asserts who we are and who we want to be, where we live and how we die, what we cherish and what we strive for. It reflects our dreams and our realities. It’s the (he)art of the nation.

How cool that I have the opportunity to share some of this with you!

Category: Arts & Entertainment

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