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Wits Film and TV named as one of the best international film schools by the Hollywood Reporter

- dylan

The Hollywood Reporter has named the Wits Film and Television division in the Wits School of Arts as one of the top 15 international film schools in the world.

The publication has announced a separate list for American film schools. The international list features other prestigious institutions such as The Filmacademy in Vienna, The Beijing Film Academy, and La Femis in Paris.

Wits Film and TV students short film shortlisted for Film4Climate Competition

- Dylan

The Film4Climate Global Video Competition invites filmmakers between the ages of 14-35 years old from all over the world to showcase their talents and create a Public Service Advertisement (PSA) (less than 1 min) or a Short Film (1-5 minutes) about climate action. Wits Film and TV Students Samkelisiwe Makhoba, Mandlakazi Zilwa, Portia Ramoabi, Pumla Peteni,Daniella Boalhosa and Jessica Wan have entered the Film4Climate competition and were shortlisted out of over 800 film submissions throughout the world. Their entry made the top 4 chosen in South Africa, and top 60 films within the short film category worldwide. Italian film Director Bernardo Bertolucci was one of the judges and the winners were announced in November. Unfortunately our students didn’t win, however it was an achievement in itself to be nominated and we salute them! Their work was also featured in the official competition trailer. 

Wits’ Gabi Ngcobo to curate Berlin Biennale

- Wits University

The Fine Arts lecturer will head the 10th Biennale taking place in Germany next year.

Ngcobo is a lecturer in the Wits School of Arts Division of Fine Arts, artist and independent curator. Since the early 2000s Ngcobo has been engaged in collaborative artistic, curatorial, and educational projects in South Africa and on an international scope.

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Wits has most NRF-rated music researchers

- Christopher

Wits University has the most National Research Foundation (NRF) rated music researchers in the country. These include Head of the Wits School of Arts, Professor Brett Pyper; Head of Music, Chris Letcher, rated for both his scholarly writings and work in composition; Marie Jorritsma, author of Sonic Spaces of the Karoo; Grant Olwage, editor of Composing Apartheid; and Honorary Professor Jeanne Zaidel-Rudolph. In addition, Professor Michael Titlestad (English Department) and Emeritus Professor David Coplan (Anthropology) have also been rated for their music research. The NRF ratings are a measure of the significance of research undertaken by individual researchers in the country. That Wits has the most rated music researchers in the country is an indication of the Music Department’s research standing.

Wits dominates Naledi nominations

- Christopher

Half of the Naledi Theatre Award nominations for 2016 for Best Score/Arrangement featured Wits Music graduates. Kutlwano Masote was nominated for the music for the biographic theatre piece on his father Masote’s Dream; Byran Schimmel with Jonathan Roxmouth for I’m Playing Your Song; and Joseph Makhanza’s African music-inspired music for Lepatata. While the award went to Nataniël, Lepatata won for Best Ensemble production.

Wits students making waves on the pop scene: Recent EP and single releases

- Christopher

Vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Jean-Louise Parker, who performs under the moniker Academie with Alex Parker, launched the EP Volumes in Johannesburg recently. Listen to their haunting debut single “Sulphur” . New York-based duo Tiger and Man, featuring Wits graduate Andrew Orkin, released their self-titled debut EP in March. Interview Magazine described the track “I’ve Got Nothing” as a “fuzzed, electro-pop anthem”, and the single “Wondering” is getting much attention from the alternative music media. Local indie band Zebra & Giraffe, featuring ex-Wits Music student Mike Wright, performed at the prestigious Kirstenbosch Summer Series in Cape Town soon after the release of their EP Slow Motion. One of the tracks on the EP, the ballad “You Are”, features a guest appearance by vocalist Ruby Gill, another ex-Wits Music student Ruby has recently released her own single, the upbeat alt folk “Winter”. And Sean J who graduated last year, debuted with the R&B single “Falling”. You can download these artists’ music on iTunes, and like their Facebook pages to find out about upcoming appearances and releases.

Wits Young Artist Award

- Undergrad Exhibitions

The Division of Visual Art at the Wits School of Arts invites you to the opening of the first annual Wits Young Artist Award (WYAA) Date: 12 August Time: 6pm Venue: The Point of Order, cnr Bertha and Stiemens Streets, Braamfontein Winners to be announced on 1 September 2016.

About the WYAA: Over the past  ((….)) years, the annual Martienssen Prize has been awarded to honour artistic excellence produced by senior Wits Fine Arts students. Although change was inherent in its previous iterations, the award saw an accelerated shift in its structure in recent years. Taking place at various locations, including Museum Africa in Newtown, the award fostered links between the Division of Visual Arts and other art institutions in the city. Its return to Braamfontein in 2011 has positioned the award as an important contributor to the area’s growing cultural hub, which has attracted artists, galleries and various cultural institutions. The newly established Wits Young Artist Award (formerly known as Martienssen Prize) is born out of a need for more than “change”. It is an urgent call for rethinking and re-imagining what an Art Award means in a Pan-African University which acknowledges the idea that decoloniality is an embodied experience of the postcolonial moment. This year not only sees a change in the name of the award, but also enables further interrogation by challenging the notion of “artistic excellence”. It intends to redefine how Art Competitions are governed. Through interrogating the processes of submission, adjudication, and project manifestation, the WYAA implements the mandate of decolonizing the art competition itself.

Through this process, notions of ‘failure’ come to signify that ideas and/or their execution have the potential to dismantle convention. This point in the history of the award signifies our search for an aesthetic language that advocates for the development of creative practices that go beyond “exhibition-making”. This allows for a revisiting of critical questions such as When is a work of art? Where does a work of art begin? Where must it be located? How does it manifest? When can it be allowed to die? If art is the answer, what are the questions? It further asks, Why “Art” if others cannot live?

Tales of Ovid: Metamorphosis


Tales of Ovid: Metamorphosis is the final presentation of 8 final year Theatre and Performance students. Six of these students have worked as performers and storytellers, while others have worked in stage management and dramaturgy. Facilitated by lecturer Kieran James Reid, the project and the process have been focused on the development of improvisation, storytelling skills and play between the students. 

Dr Rory Bester invited to join the Global Nominator panel for the Prix Pictet


Dr Rory Bester has been invited to join the Global Nominator Panel for the Prix Pictet, the world’s leading prize in photography and sustainability.

Entry is by nomination only, with each member of the panel of experts – critics, curators, journalists and gallerists – proposing up to five photographers for consideration by the independent jury. Previous winners have included Benoit Aquin, Nadav Kander, Mitch Epstein, Luc Delahaye, Michael Schmidt and Valérie Belin. While no South Africans have won the prize, a number have been shortlisted over the previous six cycles, including Pieter Hugo, Gideon Mendel, Brent Stirton, and Guy Tillim (twice).

Below: Gideon Mendel, Shirley Armitage, Moorland Village, Somerset, United Kingdom (2014), Digital C-Print,100 x 100 cmGideon Mendel, Christa and Salomon Raymond Fils, Decade Village, Haiti (2008), Digital C-Print, 100 x 100 cm


Gideon Mendel Shirley Armitage, Moorland Village, Somerset, United Kingdom

 Gideon Mendel Christa and Salomon Raymond Fils, Decade Village, Haiti



















History of Art Tutors at Mercedes Benz Fashion week


Three of the four fabulous post graduate student tutors for 2nd year History of Art, Tshego Mabaso, Kiyara Ananmalay and Gontse Mathabathe at Marianne Fassler’s fashion show, part of Mercedes Benz Fashion week at Nelson Mandela Square. Fassler’s show featured beadwork from the Marigold beading co-operative in Bulawayo, a collaborative project with Marigold and Joni Brenner. An unforgettable evening watching a South African icon at her best, with an interpretation of the beadwork integrated into contemporary South African smart design. Zandri Oosthuysen, the fourth tutor and excellent role model for our younger students, was home putting the finishing touches to her master’s dissertation!

Joni Brenner at the Still Point


Joni Brenner’s latest solo exhibition ran at London Gallery, Art First between 8 October – 14 November 2015

Joni Brenner’s latest solo exhibition ran at London Gallery, Art First between 8 October – 14 November 2015.

Extracted from public address given at the exhibition, ‘At the still point’:

The account below gives some insight to the process of making, and to the intellectual concerns to do with likeness and portraiture, transience, mortality and time, that have been part of my creative work for decades, and that continue to inform new iterations in my practice.

I think the portraits, individually and collectively have that calm stillness that has come from the intensive looking and from the attempts to know or understand.

The stillness – which gave rise to the title of the show – results from several things, perhaps most notably it is there, because, unlike Wilson and Fred who followed, Scott does not engage in conversation in the studio.

The stillness is also there, acquired or accrued through the hours of looking, through the layers of paint on the surface, built up, scraped away, portraits reinvented over and over again, investing the surface with time accumulated.

And the quiet of the portraits is there too in the limited range of bony off-whites that have been used to make them, and in the tight parameters: all smallish, oils on canvas, mostly frontal poses.

A sense of this model, and of me, this painter, I think emerges across the group of portraits, and the overarching project is there in the serial attempts to capture or hold the moment of being before it slips into the past.

That balance in time between past and future and the awareness of time passing is also very much there in the skulls ­– the watercolours and the one new bronze. The combination of portraits and skulls embodies, perhaps in an obvious way, the passing of time, and the need to record it.

Additional insights to this new body of work, and to the ways in which it reflects a deep concern with the affordances of making, as a means to knowing or understanding, are captured in the catalogue essay which was written by the author Elizabeth Burroughs after a long studio discussion between the two of us in front of the new works.

Joni Brenner exhibition London GalleryJoni Brenner London Gallery