The two artists bring evocative solo exhibitions to the White River Gallery in Mpumalanga this winter.
By CityLife Arts Writer
This winter artists and sisters Dr Nathani Lüneburg and Dr Liezel Lüneburg will share the White River Gallery space, in two new, deeply reflective, and thought-provoking solo exhibitions. In a testament to the restorative powers of art, Nathani’s In Loving Memory of Loekie, and all theothers and Liezel’s Imperfections will be opened by DrGwenneth Miller, senior lecturer, UNISA on 29 May 2021 and will run until 20 June 2021 at the White River Gallery, White River, Mpumalanga.
“It is a great privilege to host both Drs Nathani and Liezel Lüneburg in our gallery. It is a first for the gallery on many levels. Each exhibition presents unique and distinctly different bodies of work, by contrasting themes, subject matters and mediums,” says Dana MacFarlane, Gallery Director of White River Gallery.
Nathani’s In Loving Memory of Loekie, and all the others is a multi-layered exhibition celebrating her dogs who have brought calm, solace and protection to her life. Named after her dog Loekie, who passed away shortly after lockdown, the exhibition showcases various pieces of work including 28 pen sketched portraits of all the loving dogs that have protected and supported Nathani from childhood to adulthood and a powerful stop-frame animation titled Diaphragms featuring 2613 frames exhibited in a life size cubicle which can only be occupied by one person per viewing functions as a device meant to emulate the isolation Nathani experienced during lockdown.
Dogs are credited with being man’s best friend and in the toughest times, a point of calm, and companionship. The National Lockdown at the beginning of 2020 could be described as one of the toughest times for South Africans, with financial loss, social isolation and fear taking an emotional and mental toll on so many. For Nathani the absence of human companionship led to growing fears, angst, feelings of misery, and health complications.
“Dogs have long become attuned to communication with their owners. Our dogs’ ability to read human body language and expressions, and show us empathy, have been verified by several studies. Pets have even been shown to delay suicidal actions by demanding the attention of their owners. In my own experience, even when deeply depressed and unproductive, needing to care for my pets regularly brought me back to the present,” says Nathani who is open about her own experience of growing depression and thoughts of suicide during the continued lockdown.
Liezel‘s Imperfections looks to her life-long fascination with circles and curves, as well as her personal struggle with and acknowledgement of imperfection. Liezel calls her drawings “mandalas”, in reference to the Tibetan meaning for the word “mandala” – “that which encircles a centre”. A centre in this context symbolising meaning and that which encircles it is a representation of the meaning.
“My artworks do not necessarily revolve round a centre on paper, but rather a conceptual centre which expresses my personal emotions, thoughts, desires and intuitions at a specific moment. It also depicts the way in which I perceive the world and comments on both the imperfections and the beautiful,” says Liezel
Liezel employs live succulents as her medium of choice, grown in her own extensive garden. The drought resistant succulents symbolise life in abundance, hope for the future and spirited resilience and durability.
The artists grew up in White River within a family of creatives. Their artistic careers have taken unique paths and the two exhibitions provide a chronicle of their journeys. Although different in theme and nature, each exhibition fundamentally depicts wholeness and balance through the bind of childhood and the family thread.
The exhibition runs from 29 May 2021 to 30 November at the White River Gallery, White River, Mpumalanga. A walkabout will be held at the gallery on Sat 19 June 2021. All COVID 19 protocols to be followed.
About the artists
Dr. Nathani Lüneburg is a multimedia artist specializing in video art and the technique of stop-frame animation. Before working at University of South Africa, Nathani worked as a post-graduate guest lecturer at the Monash University in Melbourne, where she completed an artist residency. She has won awards such as the Kyknet Fiësta Award for Best Art Presentation (2016), the ABSA KKNK Kanna Award for Best Art Presentation (2015), the Hallo Ambassador Creative Excellence Award (2015), an ABSA L’Atelier Merit Award (2006) and the Best Honours Art Student Award at the University of Pretoria (2004). She was one of the top ten candidates for the Absa L’Atelier Art Awards in 2004 and 2006 and has been a top 100 finalist for the Sasol New Signatures Art Competition from 2004 – 2008 as well as in Absa L’Atelier from 2004 – 2012. Furthermore, she was nominated for a Blooom Award by Wansteiner in Germany (2015).
In 2008 Nathani participated in the International Triennial of Contemporary Art in Prague, Czech Republic, and in 2014 she participated in the Dak’Art Biennial of Contemporary Art in Senegal. In 2013 one of her video artworks was selected as part of the Video Nomad Artist’s Film International Screening in La Marsa, Tunisia and in 2014 her work was exhibited at the Njele Art Station in Zimbabwe. Her work also featured in the Women exhibition in Windhoek, Namibia in 2013.
Moreover she has participated in 70 curated exhibitions in South Africa at various galleries and universities in Pretoria, Cape Town, Bloemfontein, Durban, East London, Oudtshoorn, Potchefstroom, Stellenbosch and Johannesburg. Nathani has also exhibited at various prominent art festivals in South Africa and abroad.
Liezel Lüneburg is an admitted, non-practising attorney who is currently focusing on her art and further studies. She is also a journalist and writer who has published many magazines articles over the past few years.
She is a self-taught artist whose love of art and the need to create works of art was first encouraged by a creative mother and later on by artist James Reed, who taught art classes in White River. While her children were smaller, she neglected her passion and only started drawing again in 2017. To date she has sold many mandala-artworks in her circle of acquaintances, but the exhibition presented by White River Gallery is her very first solo-exhibition. A second solo-exhibition curated by the Association of Arts Pretoria will run consecutively with the White River Gallery-exhibition.
Liezel is an academic at heart and has been a student for life, obtaining a Doctor of Law-degree from Unisa in 2008 and currently reading for a Doctor of Philosophy in Law-degree, also at Unisa. Her field of study is art law and the title of the thesis is “The South African artist’s right to freedom of artistic expression – a multidisciplinary perspective”.
She is also a mother of three children, married to Frans Arnoldi and manages a social assistance project. Her passions are good food, including spices, edible flowers and fresh salads, children in need, art and creativity, beauty, knowledge, and every single living thing nature has to offer.
.White River Gallery is at Casterbridget Lifestyle Centre and its opening hours and days are is Monday – Friday 10:00am – 4:00pm
Weekends and public holidays 10am – 2pm facebook: @The White River Gallery / IG @whiterivergallery.