CIRCA on Jellicoe was proud to present an exhibition of Deborah Bell’s iconic printmaking projects created in collaboration with Caversham Press.
Deborah Bell is one of South Africa's most acclaimed artists, a transcendent sculptor, painter and printmaker, she has worked with a great variety of mediums during her career and has collaborated on various projects that are considered historically important. These projects include collaborations with contemporaries and pioneers of the resistance art movement such as William Kentridge and Robert Hodgins. Two of these collaborations resulted in UBU 101 and Little Morals, two very significant print collections that benchmarked the resistance movement.
UBU 101 is a tribute to the play Ubu Roi by Alfred Jarry. The play’s characters Pa Ubu and Ma Ubu became synonymous with tyranny, amorality and those that abuse power. In this print series, the three artists delve into the issues that Ubu has come to represent. By using the Ubu character, Bell comments on the violence and horror constantly affecting the African continent and uses the Ma and Pa Ubu characters to represent the deceit and atrocity that happened during Apartheid in South Africa.
Bell’s Little Morals print collection is a series of eight works which, unlike Hodgins and Kentridge’s works, each depict their own narrative with a common thread of being a spectator or witness. Along with the artists’ personal experiences the works carry references to Goya, Picasso and Babylonian relief sculpture.
The works exhibited reflect the beginnings of the Caversham Press and reflect Bell’s perceptions and responses to South Africa during the years between late apartheid and the transition into South Africa’s new democracy.