|Museum of Art announces new South African gift|
"Suspension," an altar piece created for the 1990 Native American Thanksgiving service at New York’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine, is a recent gift to the North Dakota Museum of Art from Georgie Papageorge, a South African artist. Through the Museum, a group of students from the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa collaborated with the artist on the piece. It is on exhibit through Sunday, Dec. 3, accompanied by related works. The Museum is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. week days, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends. For more information, call 777-4195.
Georgie Papageorge grew from the soul of South Africa. Born and raised there, she chose to stay through the rich years of plenty for white South Africans, and through the terror and fear that escorted out years of apartheid and swept the country into endless change.
She makes art from the violence, warring, death, and atonement. Revolution, colonialism, the Catholic Church, the nightly news on television, the Ndebele, the landscape of the great Kalahari Desert, her own family compound: from such as these she draws both her themes and her symbols. Her themes are huge, her reach is gigantic, the resulting work is monumental. Her sculpture, "Suspension," held its own when photographed from a helicopter on an African gold mine dump. That same work was moved to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City to serve as a contemporary altar piece. Against the architecture of a gigantic Gothic cathedral, it still held its own.
The Chi-Rho is one of Papageorge’s most important symbols. Chi-Rho is Greek (the X is Chi and P is Rho), but since early times has been the monogram of Christ. In early Christianity it was as much a symbol of the Resurrection as of the Crucifixion. Ultimately Papageorge found she could use the symbol as a positive and joyful image or as an image of sacrifice and war.