The Johannesburg Art Gallery & The French Institute of SA Present The Art of Comics

The Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG), the Embassy of France in South Africa as well as the French Institute of SA are pleased to present The Art of Comics. This is an exciting new exhibition that showcases the fascinating worlds of South African comics and French bandes dessinées – the famous French comic style.

The Art of Comics, taking place from 19 September until 17 November 2019 at the JAG, will offer visitors a rich variety of contemporary South African comics and graphic novels. 

These explore topics relating to history, mythology, science fiction, memoir and new trends in the field; such as comic books on increased truth. The exhibition also features a special section on French Speaking Comics, curated by Thierry Groensteen, one of France’s leading bande dessinées  researchers and theorists. Various workshops will be organised during the exhibition for schools and the public, led by South African and French experts.

The exhibition is timed to coincide with Comic Con Africa, the largest comic festival on the continent, to give the public a broader look at the world of comics and animation. An estimated 80,000 people attended last year’s inaugural event in SA, highlighting the popularity of this art form.

Programme & Workshops:

19 September: Official Opening of Exhibition to VIPs and Public as part of ComicCon After Dark and Museum Night programs.

21 September: Curators Tara Weber, Ray Whitcher and Thierry Groensteen present and discuss the exhibition at ComicCon Africa, followed by a discussion on the French and South African comic industries with Moray Rhoda and visiting artists from France and Reunion. 

22 September: Public Walkabout of the exhibition with the curators at the Johannesburg Art Gallery at 11 am.

21 – 24 September: The exhibition will be promoted at ComicCon Africa with an interactive stall at the artist’s alley section of the convention, encouraging visitors to visit the Art of Comics.

24 September: Heritage Day program at JAG includes a children’s workshop with Johannesburg Family Gathering led by illustrator Jess Jardim-Wedepohl , and a workshop with Réunionese comic book creator Serge Huo-Chao-Si with a student group from New Model Private College (10 am) and a special Heritage Day Public Walkabout at 11 am.

25 – 27 September: School Holiday program at JAG
25 September: Introduction to Pop-ups workshop with Young Bucks 10 – 1 pm (open to public, space limited, RSVP essential) JAG silkscreen demonstration 2 -5 pm (open to public, space limited, RSVP essential).

26 September: Comics Making 101 workshop with Ray Whitcher Comics Making 101 workshop with Bill Masuku.

27 September: Augmented Reality Workshop with Athenkhosi Musoke and Nkululeko Reginald Sedibe (Nomvula) (closed workshop with animation schools).

28 September: Discussion around the importance of comics and animation in interpreting archival material with French Artist Camille Duvelleroy (Panama Al Brown) and Oerd Van Cuijlenborg (Accused #2) and South African archivists and archives. 

29 September: ‘Telling Your Own Story Through Comics’ Workshop for GALA Youth Forum in collaboration with Qintu Collab and Nas Hoosen (10 – 2 pm)Launch of ‘Meanwhile’ Graphic novel of queer stories from East and Southern Africa booklaunch in partnership with GALA and Qintu Collab (3pm – 5pm).

October Program: Comics and Society

The significance of comics in cultural and political commentaries will be the highlight of the month. Through their cartoons and comics, artists like Mogorosi Motshumi have created a precious commitment to community. Workshops, events and discussions will concentrate on the theme-related subjects. Total to bring school groups from Soweto to participate in educational activities at the exhibition.

November Program: Beyond the Page

As technology is developing, comics convey their creativity in more ways, from Instagram and other web platforms, to the revival of zines and other types of auto-publication. This month will focus on workshops that explore the future of comics and the many forms that comics can take, featuring Kay Carmichael, the artist behind web comic, Sophie Giant Slayer. 

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