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Founded in 1979, October Gallery, in central London, exhibits innovative, contemporary art from around the world. For over 40 years, October Gallery has pioneered the development of the Transvangarde - the trans-cultural avant-garde.


Planetary Conception 5 by Sandile Zulu
Planetary Conception 5 by Sandile Zulu


30 June – 30 July 2005

A touring exhibition featuring a series of monumental fire paintings: PLANETARY CYCLE by Sandile Zulu.

Zulu's paints are the harnessed natural effects of fire, water, earth and air. His brushes are both natural, organic materials (pumpkin runners, leaves, roots) and synthetic urban debris (wire, scrap metal, paper). As canvas he uses materials sourced from his local environment, from cotton and leather, to plaster, perspex and drum hide. When Zulu began working with fire, in 1990, he saw its action as an allegory for the violence that surrounded him. As the apartheid state employed fire and firearms as tools of repression, he began to experiment with the media as a form of resistance, a revolutionary act – literally a way of "fighting fire with fire". Responding to what he called the "winds of change" in the following years, he began to incorporate wind, air and water into his processes. He explains:

"Fire and water, wind and soil allude to life, to creation and destruction, to colonisation and decolonisation, to revolution and liberation, to purgation and cleansing, to purification and renewal"

Most recently, he has been working with huge canvases, on which he has burnt forms by laying down various materials on the fabric, including pumpkin runners and leaves, (resulting in organic, interlocking forms), small wire triangles (giving a cross-hatching effect), and circles of paper (leaving polka dots). For the first time, he is introducing elements of colour by sewing onto the canvas minute squares of red fabric, heightening the decorative patterns, and leaving one wondering if the canvases are bleeding...

Sandile Zulu was born in 1960, in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa, and now lives and works in Johannesburg. After graduating from the University of the Witwatersrand in the early 90's he exhibited extensively, locally as well as in the United States, Germany, France, Sweden, Scotland and the Seychelles. He has received many international awards and is represented in public, corporate and private collections around the world, including the South African National Gallery. Sandile Zulu is presented in association with the Michael Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town. His canvases will be complemented by a small selection of works by artists using erosive media.


with SANDILE ZULU and special guest EL ANATSUI

Monday, 4th July, 2005, 2.00-6.00 pm
Doors open 1.30pm

An afternoon of talks, demonstrations and discussion to explore the creative potential of fire as both a tool and metaphor in art-making practice. A panel of speakers will cover the history of pyrographic arts and explore ideas surrounding the contemporary use of fire in performance, conceptual and process-based art. Artists Sandile Zulu and El Anatsui have made extensive use of the fluid and fertile potential of fire as a conceptual element within their work. Following a chaired discussion with open debate and question time, El Anatsui will give a practical demonstration of his technique. As a diverse range of ideas are raised by this subject, there will be an opportunity to continue any heated debates over a buffet of flame-grilled delicacies in the Gallery's courtyard from 5pm.

Tickets £5 (£10 with BBQ). Student Rate: £4 (£8 with BBQ).
Limited Places. Booking advised. Pay Bar.


October Gallery, 24 Old Gloucester Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 3AL Tel: + 44 (0)20 7242 7367