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  • Majak Bredell: The New York Years 1981–2003

    Majak Bredell: The New York Years 1981–2003

    Fri, Feb 21, 2020

    Event:                         Majak Bredell: The New York Years 1981–2003

    Date:                            From 14 March to 14 June 2020

    Venue:                         North and South Gallery, Pretoria Art Museum

    Cnr Francis Baard and Wessels Street, Arcadia Park, Arcadia


    When Majak Bredell emigrated to New York in 1981 with her husband and two young children, she embarked on a journey that would lead her from the confines of a traditional marriage to the riches that this world-city had to offer the searching artist. The Association of Arts Pretoria, in conjunction with the Pretoria Art Museum, will present an extensive retrospective exhibition, Majak Bredell: The New York Years 1981–2003, curated by Prof Elfriede Dreyer. The works on show at both venues cover a period of 22 years that follows the trajectory of the artist's initial confrontations with issues of belonging and dis-belonging as the chasm between her mother country and her adopted home was mediated through both images and poetry. Several artist's books with images and bilingual poems resulted from this.

    Bredell states the following in the catalogue that accompanies the exhibitions:

    "Through art-making I quarrelled with the legacy and unyielding demands of the patriarchal Calvinism that shaped my childhood in the 1950s. This journey, accompanied by Jungian therapy and much reading, eventually led me to a gender shift in the image of the sacred, culminating in my resurrection of ancient notions of the great mother, goddess, and the sacred female. In this process, I imagined an embodied reflection of those parts of being that had been marginalized or rejected by western monotheism's misogyny and its casting of the sexual female body into the abyss of so-called original sin.

    "During my sojourn in that great city, art-making remained my passion despite limited exhibition opportunities. Longing for my mother country and the loss of a South African identity eventually precipitated my return to South Africa after a hiatus of almost twenty-three years. By which time my identity had shifted to include my New York identity that I wore like a second skin – a double identity I wear to this day."

    The Pretoria exhibitions will be held as follows:

    The two-part retrospective overview is accompanied by a full-colour catalogue that includes an essay by the curator, Prof Elfriede Dreyer.

    An introduction to the artwork opens at 19:00 on Friday, 6 March 2020, at the Association of Arts Pretoria, with Dr Avitha Sooful as the opening speaker. 

    The artist will present a walkabout at 15:00 on Wednesday, 11 March 2020. 

    The exhibition closes at 15:00 on Wednesday, 25 March 2020. 


    The comprehensive exhibition opens at 11:00 on Saturday, 14 March 2020, at the Pretoria Art Museum, with

    Prof Elfriede Dreyer as the opening speaker. 

    The artist will present a walkabout at 11:00 on Tuesday, 24 March 2020 . 

    The exhibition closes on Sunday, 14 June 2020. 


    Dirk Oegema 

    The Pretoria Art Museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 17:00 and is closed on Mondays and public holidays.

    Tel: 012 358 6750


    GPS coordinates: 25°44'53.63"S; 28°12'45.20"E

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