Contemporary San Art: "Lizards" By Artist Xgaiga Qhomatca, Lino Limited Edition, 20 x 29 cm
Born on one of the freehold farms in the Ghanzi district, Xgaiga was schooled in farm work from a very young age. During those years the farms were not fenced. There were many wild animals and he often went hunting with his father and grandfather. He remembers seeing herds of springbok, gemsbok, and giraffes on the farms, where today only an occasional kudu, steenbok, or duiker can be seen. He also encountered lions and leopards and sometimes during a very good rainy season, elephants would wander from Lake Ngami into the Ghanzi farming areas. Today, Xgaiga is well known for his knowledge of the veld and the San culture and is an outstanding performer and instructor of their traditional dances, games, stories, and music. He started his career as a visual artist in 1997 when he joined the Kuru Art Project
Kuru Art Project
In contemporary Africa, the Bushman artists of the Kuru Art Project bring back the role of art as an expressive outlet for their traditions and recent life experiences, as their ancestors had done in the many rock paintings all over Southern Africa. The Kuru Art Project encourages and assists these artists by exposing them to contemporary art materials and techniques, as well as the administration and marketing of their art, which has become a much needed economic resource for this group of artists and their community. The twenty artists currently with the project are from the Naro and Dcui San groups.
They work in different media and techniques, including oil on canvas, linocuts, drypoint engravings, and lithography. After thirty years, the group is well known and their art has been exhibited in more than 15 countries globally with about 160 exhibitions. They have won many awards, and their work is to be found in private and public collections throughout the world. Members of the project have had their work used in many publications, book covers, on the tails of British Airways planes, and on a set of stamps issued by the Botswana Postal Services.
In this technique, the artists outline their image on a woodblock or other surface. The artists then cut away pieces of the surface, leaving only the image raised. They then use a roller to apply the ink to the raised surface and transfer the image onto paper with a press or hand rubbing or burnishing. Since the recessed, cutaway areas do not receive ink, they appear white on the printed image. The primary relief techniques are woodcut, wood engraving, and linocut. The Kuru artists are well known for their linocuts. They use vinyl floor tiles to cut into, which are more easily available and widely used by artists for creating linocuts. The Kuru art studio has two etching presses used by the artists for printmaking. Using a press to make the linocuts ensures consistency in the print quality throughout the run.
These prints are not to be confused with reproduction prints. Each print is an original piece, printed and signed by the hand of the artist, and is one of a limited edition.