THE Grahamstown Arts Festival has come and gone. Every day your newspaper published reviews, but not a single review of any visual art exhibitions at the NAF.
Furthermore, had you opened your bookings kit, you would have noticed under "Exhibitions” that Port Elizabeth venues are now part of the NAF and are listed in these pages.
Artists in the Eastern Cape have been working for months to support exhibitions and produce work which could be displayed at ArtEC, the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Museum, Ron Belling Gallery, the Athen- eum, the Tin House and Anthony Harris’s newly opened ART Gallery. There are many older established artists nurturing younger talent and it is sad to see in these times of joblessness, that these young artists are given no recognition by the print media.
In fact, many exhibitions go completely unnoticed and this has been happening for quite a few years. Artists and organisations complain that even some press releases sent to The Herald never see the light of day.
When last had anyone seen a reporter or photographer at exhibition openings? Even worse is when organisations have to resort to paying independent critics to get some recognition in your newspaper.
The general public is being deprived of opportunities to see the creativity in their city and if you really believe that good news does not sell, some good news will lift the spirit, especially if you are bombarded on a daily basis by the filth, murder, theft, corruption, abuse...this list could go on and on but would depress me.
Regardless of this sad neglect, artists are creative people and will now have to apply their creative minds to finding other ways of reaching the public. Luckily you cannot kill creativity by ignoring it – ask any dictator or dictatorial regime.
So dear reader, should you feel like a walk on the art side, go and have a look. All these exhibitions are still on and if you feel that I am using this letter to advertise the exhibitions, you would be partly correct – I am being creative and peeved at the same time!
Lydia Holmes, Lovemore Park, Port Elizabeth
THE Herald did in fact publish a review of one of the most important visual art exhibitions at the festival, "Retinal Shift”, by Mikhael Subotsky (July 4). With some 500 events in Grahamstown and limited space, we were restricted to only several reviews per day.
Our focus with the National Arts Festival is deliberately on the performing arts as our region and readers are sadly deprived of seeing such national productions, whereas we carry news and reviews of local visual art exhibitions all year round.
We have no knowledge of organisations paying independent critics for any recognition in our publication. We either commission reviews ourselves, or accept unsolicited outside contributions from reputable reviewers without payment.
Exhibition organisers should note that we publicise arts events in the Art and About diary on Page 3 which now appears Monday to Thursday, while carrying reviews in our weekly Friday Leisure section. Often we are not notified of events timeously, so please send details to me at firstname.lastname@example.org – Brett Adkins, The Herald Arts Editor