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VUYILE CAMERON VOYIYA
Born in Langa, Cape Town 1961

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Vuyile Cameron Voyiya
Born in Langa, Cape Town 1961

Vuyile Voyiya is a print maker that graduated from Michaelis at a time when few black people managed to complete their higher education. This process could have left him feeling ostracized and other. Questions of identity come through strongly in his work as he leaves his own culture to become part of the western university system. His higher education separates him from the community he comes from. Perhaps if he were a lawyer and earning money it would have been easier for his community to understand. There is an expectation for him to give back to his community and this is not always easy as the life of an artists is never the most financially secure. It is hard in the South African context where there is not as much governmental support for the arts.

Voyiya persisted and the quality of his work has been recognized by the larger international community. Amongst other international collections he has been accepted for a residency at the Brandy Wine workshop in the Philadelphia. As a result his print work is part of the Philadelphia museum of art.

His latest works have moved away from comments of the struggle in South Africa and talk more of the intimate relationships between two figure. The dynamics are shown through gesture and dance rather than language. I spent much time in conversation with Voyiya as I wrote a mini Monologue on his work for my UCT Honour’s Degree in Fine Art. He struck me as an intelligent and articulate artist with a vast amount of experience of the South African artworld  ranging from the struggle in the1980s to the present day. In his time as the education officer at the South African National Gallery he did much to share his experience and educate South Africans from all backgrounds.

Kitty Dorje


1982

Matriculated from Nyanga Senior Secondary, Engcobo, Transkei.

1983-5
Volunteer organiser of the Shawco News vendor Project.
Voyiya helped to set up a news vendor advice centre with financial assistance from SHAWCO. After researching living conditions of news vendors, Voyiya realised an office was needed in order to offer assistance in work conditions and organise a soup kitchen in winter.

1985-92
Full time art student at Community Arts Project

1985
Part time childrens art teacher.at CAP.
Grassroots Year of the Youth Art Award, Cape Town
Grassroots was an exhibition of artworks that had been entered into a competition run by a local newspaper. Sue Williamson was one of the judges and the competition  took place in Rondebosch.
CAP Open day exhibition

1986-1990
Completed a BA FA at Michaelis.

1987
CAP Open Day exhibition, Cape Town
Friends of Italy Exhibition, Cape Town
The exhibition was organised by the Italian consulate and held in Queen Victoria street. It represented mainly black artists from township environments, drawing entries from  Community Arts Project and Nyanga Art Centre students.

1989
Sue Williamson publishes Resistance Art in South Africa and Voyiya is one of the artists showcased in the book.
This book is published in the fourth year of South Africa’s nationwide state of emergency. In September of 1989 FW de Klerk replaces PW Botha as president and by December FW meets with Nelson Mandela in prison.
Art/Images from Southern Africa, Kulturhuset, Stockholm Sweden
This exhibition was organised by Christina Bjork and included 16 artists from Mozambique, Angola, Zimbabwe and South Africa. It was held at Stockholm City Culture House in Sweden. At the time there was a cultural boycott on South Africa so only selected South African artists could participate. Other South African artists included Bongi, Dhlomo, Bill Ainsley, Sue Williamson. Voyiya’s exhibited the Rhythm ¾ time(1988) series at that exhibition.

Art on Campus, University of Western Cape

Awards
Matt Andersson Art Award , Sweden

1990

Print making teacher for young adults at CAP
Art of South Africa, Oxford Museum, Museum of Modern Art, UK
The show was curated by David Elliot who visited South Africa in late 1990, the year when 30 opposition groups including the ANC were unbanned and Mandela was freed after 27 years in prison. Elliot consulted with different political organisations through the cultural desk in order to make the exhibition possible even though the cultural boycott on South Africa had not been lifted. Voyiya and other artists met with Elliot at Community House, the early silkscreen studio at CAP, situated on Woodstock main road. Elliot selected artists to visit the UK and conduct workshops. Elliot focused mainly on black artists as they were aligned to organisation like the UDF and the ANC. Voyiya exhibited a In the coffin of my skin (1988) on this show.

1991-92
Voyiya Co-ordinates a of children’s art projects, CAP
29th Biennale of Sydney, Gallery of New South Wales, Australia


1991-1996
Educator officer at South African National Gallery (SANG)

1992
Participated in Group Exhibition at the 29th Sydney Biennale
This participation was made possible because the European Union lifted economic sanctions and the cultural boycott ended in 1992. Voyiya was unable to attend the Biennale due to a miscommunication at the national gallery about his ticket.
I was Loneliness-tribute to Mafunguejo, Primart Gallery, Cape Town
Art of South Africa, SA National Gallery, Cape town
A Zanier Future, Chelsea Gallery, Cape Town.
SAAA, Eastern Cape, King George VI, Port Elizabeth
The Enlightening Breath, Encico California USA
Commissions
Barlow Rand

1993
Volskas Atelier, Regional Exhibition , SAAA Gallery, Cape Town
The exhibition is now called the ABSA Atelier Voyiya submitted the artwork While the bulls brawl the grass gets hurt (1992) and Shadows in the suburb of my brain (1992)
Volskas Atelier, National Exhibition, Pretoria
Art from the Western Cape, Grahamstown
Commissions
Eskom, Cape town

1994
Displacements, Northwestern University, USA
The Displacement exhibition is curated by Colin Richards and is a large group show of South African artist including William Kentridge, David Koloane and Voyiya Vuyile as well as many other prominent South African artists.
F
resh Cream, Chelsea Gallery, Wynberg, Cape Town
Fresh Cream Grahamstown Arts Festival
US Gallery Stellenbosch
British Council, Cape Town
Continental Drift USA

1994-5
Art teacher at Asijiki Street Children for Molo Songololo

1995
Education officer at SANG
Auto Atlantic Gallery, Cape Town
The Auto Atlantic Gallery was located next to a show room full of cars. Voyiya was included in a group exhibition and he recalls he was asked to bring in more artworks after the show which were presented to clients and then sold. Voyiya was working in Lino at that time and occasionally some drawings.
Contemporary prints, US Gallery, Stellenbosch
This show was organised by Jonathon Comerford the owner of Hardground print makers. Voyiya recalls how he did not have time to print his lino’s as he was working for the National Gallery at this time so he would ask Jonathan to print his lino’s for him.
Siyawela: Love, Loss and Liberty Exhibition, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, UK
Curated by Colin Richards and Pitika Ntuli.
Images for Human Rights, Durban
In this exhibition artists were asked to choose a human right and make an image of it, Voyiya choose education  as his theme and recalls some of his works were sold to Standard Bank. The profits of the exhibition were used to create a fund for human rights.

1996
Art teacher at Inter-school Children for Molo Sangolo

Study
Part time student at City Varsity

1997/8
Worked as a Communication Lecturer for the Access Course at the Cape Technikon
Facilitator of the Cape Town component of the Millennium Art Project, Maharesee – Paris.

2000
Exhibitions
Echoes held a solo show at the AVA
An exhibition of pastel drawings by Voyiya. The artworks predominantly portrayed people playing musical instruments.  Voyiya recalls he choose this subject matter as he had always had an interest in music, be it in the playing of it, the listening to it or the therapeutic value of it.

2001

Programme facilitator at Thupelo workshop at SANG

Curated
Homecoming at Guga S’Thebe in Langa (2001), programme facilitator and catalogue co-author for ‘Head North’, at AVA
This exhibition was curated by Voyiya and arose from his working with Julie McGee’s students from the United States.  They were a group of college students that were on a study away program doing research work in Cape Town for 6 months. The project included engaging with artists from different backgrounds in Cape Town and they did a lot of work with schools in the communities. During the project Voyiya and the students decided to get artists together and organize an exhibition that would take place in Langa a township in Cape Town. The intention of the exhibition was to highlight the issue that people living in the townships are seldom exposed to townships artists work. The exhibition also drew the white art world into the township environment.
Video work
He co-produced ‘Head North: Visual Cultures in Dialogue’, a collaborative project between SANG and the Bildmuseet
2002 -2003
Education liaison officer  at SANG
He has presented many papers on art, including and Cape Town’s In/Visible Art Institutions at the Association of Art and Architectural Historians in the UK.

2003
Study
Completed Honours (BAFA) at UCT

Video work
Co produced the video The Luggage is Still Labeled, Blackness in South African Art with Julie Mcgee.
A documentary by Voyiya and American art historian Julie McGee.
A video project for SANG dealing with empowerment through the arts for disabled school learners.
Kentridge at the SANG, a video project introducing William Kentridge and his work, for the education department of Iziko Museums of  Cape Town.
Presentations
A South African Museum Without Walls and Cape Town’s In/Visible Art Institutions at the Association of Art and Architectural Historians in the UK.
Overview SA Art at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, USA

Black Curators, a Challenge of a Different Hue at Stellenbosch University.

2004
Curated
HERSTORY Negotiating Tradition and Modernity Looking at the work of 10 South African women artists.BONGEKILE BENGU, ZAMA DUNYWA, PAULINE MAZIBUKO, GABISILE NGCOBO, GABISILE NKOSI, NONTOBEKO NTOMBELA, SOPHIE PETERS, THEMBEKA QANGULE, FIKILE SKOSANA and NONI VAKALISA
During his period of working at the South African Gallery Voyiya often came across the complaint that there were not enough female African artists represented. Voyiya decided to curate Herstory to find out for himself if this was the case. He organized a road trip to include Johannesburg, Grahamstown and Durban in search of black South African artists and was surprised at how many he found especially in Durban. The aim of the exhibition was to create female role models that would inspire the next generation of black woman artists.
Committees
Served on AVA and Truworths committee

2005
Pentimenti exhibition at AVA
This was a solo exhibition included the Black and Blue series(2005), Reconciliation of Discordant Cords(2004) and the animated video sequence When silence is not golden(2005)

2007
Resonance exhibition at AVA
This solo exhibition included the Blissful Swing series (2007) and Divergent Movement series (2007).

2008
Ars-Africa media festival held at Kuvakukko in Kuopio, Finland
Voyiya exhibited his print work as well as presenting his video work at this show.

2012
Siyakubona, group exhibition at The Cape Gallery


Artworks in collections
Moore Energy Resources, Washington DC, USA
Durban Art Gallery
Wits University Art Gallery
University of Western Cape
SA National Gallery

VUYILE VOYIYA
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Artist: VUYILE VOYIYA
Title: I hide my face in shame 3/20
Size: 114 x 93 cm
Media: Linocut
Price: R 6 000 Unframed
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