For most of us, there are names we’re likely to recognise when we walk around at A Black Aesthetic, on now at the Standard Bank Gallery. It’s an exhibition drawn mainly from the University of Fort Hare art collection, along with a few pieces from the Johannesburg Art Gallery and the Wits Art Museum. As the title suggests, it concentrates on the work of black SA artists, mainly between 1970 and 1990. The familiar names include Dumile Feni, Ernest Mancoba and Gerard Sekoto. It’s not a coincidence that they’re the artists who fetch good prices on auction. Part of the reason for that, in turn, is that these are artists who lived and worked in exile, found international recognition, ending up in important collections and gaining some proper scholarly treatment.

Then we have Sydney Kumalo, Lucky Sibiya, Ezrom Legae and Lucas Sithole, who are undoubtedly well-known (and also do well on auction). Their work is also relatively well documented, partly through their association with the ...

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