THE Eastern Cape's first academic journal on the arts was launched at the Ann Bryant Art Gallery in East London on Friday, 9 November.

Known as Inyathi, the journal seeks to promote different kinds of art and artists, and to encourage artists to start writing about art. The launch on Friday evening was attended by the provincial MEC for finance – and art lover – Billy Nell; and the artists who contributed to the first publication. An inyathi is a buffalo.

Image shown: Launching of Inyathi Journal: art lover, and MEC for finance, Billy Nel and the chairperson of the East London Fine Art Society Amitabh Mitra

The chairperson of the East London Fine Arts Society and editor of Inyathi, Amitabh Mitra, said the journal belonged to the Eastern Cape. "It celebrates the rich culture and heritage that we are so proud of. Artists from far-flung corners of the Eastern Cape will find Inyathi their home."

He said that the articles in the journal, which the art society aimed to publish three times a year, depicted the contemporary trends in South African art.

"We promise to have colour pictures in our next edition – but that will depend on the support we receive from around the province. We are hoping that the provincial department of sports, recreation, arts and culture get their hands on this journal, and maybe think about supporting us."

Nell congratulated Mitra and his team for producing the journal, saying he hoped that the arts department would support it.

"This journal will help showcase our art and artists not only in our province and the country, but to the rest of the world in places like Europe. There is a demand for South African cultural art in Europe and with a journal like this we will be able to sell our artists to the international markets."

He pledged his support, saying that he would do everything in his power to ensure that the publication was supported by other interested people.

In its first edition, the journal includes articles about pottery in the Sterkspruit region and Dumile Feni's permanent exhibition. Pumlani Mbanya also investigates the links between medical practitioners and traditional healers, focusing on the artistic depictions of the different doctrines.

By Nangamso Mabindla
12 November 2007
Article from Buffalo City Municipality website