Mslaba Zwelidumile Mxgaji Feni
his early South African period until 1968
works exhibited in London in 1975
DUMILE explaining one of his larger drawings at the Durban Art Gallery, 1966 (© A. Moosa Badsha)
Brief comments by Fernand F. Haenggi
The reputation of many great artists, both international and South African, is often based on their early works which impacted on the viewers. This definitely can be said of Mslaba DUMILE-Feni (DUMILE for short as he then called himself) whose early and large works were of everlasting power, causing a furore on the South African art scene.
Unfortunately, when DUMILE left for Europe and the USA, he also left behind him all the input of life that had surrounded him in South Africa - his drawings became stylised, often without much impact, even whimsical or contrived - this is exemplified by comparing the larger drawings of his South African period with the works produced in London and shown at Gallery 21 London in February, 1975.
DUMILE can only be considered great with the best of his drawings from 1965 to 1968.
DUMILE as seen by the SA press
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As there are so many versions about DUMILE's background - even his exact birthplace and year DUMILE did not know - we have decided to reproduce various articles and interviews held from 1966 to 1968 which we have in our archives - comparative and analytical reading will make this statement clear!
The Star, Johannesburg - 18th January, 1966
Rand Daily Mail, Johannesburg - 19th January, 1966
Rand Daily Mail, Johannesburg - 19th January, 1966 - 2nd article
Rand Daily Mail, Johannesburg - 19th January, 1966 - 3rd article
Die Transvaler, Johannesburg - (?) January, 1966
Rand Daily Mail, Johannesburg - 22nd January, 1966
The Star, Johannesburg - 12th May, 1966
Natal Mercury, Durban - 18th August 1966
The Sunday Tribune, Durban - 21st August, 1966
Natal Mercury, Durban - 3rd September, 1966
The Star, Johannesburg - 29th September, 1966
De Nieuwe Gids "Weekend", Antwerp (Zuidafrikaanse Kunst - A.G. Samoy) - 15th/16th October, 1966
Natal Mercury, Durban - 25th October, 1966
The World, Johannesburg - 28th October, 1966
The Star, Johannesburg - 4th November, 1966
ARTLOOK Johannesburg - December, 1966, p.5
The Star, Johannesburg - 9th June, 1967
South African Digest, Pretoria - 16th June, 1967
Die Transvaler, Johannesburg - 17th June, 1967
Rand Daily Mail, Johannesburg - 17th June, 1967
The Star, Johannesburg - 18th June, 1967
The Sunday Tribune, Durban, 18th June, 1967
The Sunday Tribune, Durban, 18th June, 1967 (2nd article)
Die Vaderland, Johannesburg - 20th June, 1967
ARTLOOK Johannesburg - April 1967, p. 20, ill.
ARTLOOK Johannesburg - June 1967, p. 7
The Classic Quarterly, Johannesburg - Vol. 2, No. 4, 1968
ARTLOOK Johannesburg - June 1968, p. 12
ARTLOOK, Johannesburg - November, 1972, pp. 28/29
Bantu, Pretoria - December, 1975 - pp. 16/17
Rand Daily Mail, Johannesburg - various, undated
Other Important References
Further information available from your library or from our office, on request!
South African Panorama, Pretoria - July 1975, pp. 18/19
Art & Artists of South Africa (Berman) (Balkema), 1983, pp. 118/120
"From South Africa" (Bunn/Taylor) (University of Chicago Press), 1987, pp. 434/441
Images of Man (EJ de Jager) (FHU Press), 1992, pp. 56/65
Painting in South Africa (Berman) (Southern Book Publ.), 1993, p. 259/261
SAUR Allgemeines Künstler Lexikon - Band 30, S. 478 - with refs. to other publications!
Mail & Guardian, Johannesburg - Feature: March 1-7, 2002
Dumile - artist in exile (Bruce Smith) (Art on Paper), 2004
ArtTalk, Johannesburg Vol. 6, Issue 1, 2005 - Dumile Feni issue, ill. (publ. MTN Foundation)
Johannesburg Art Gallery, 1.2.-10.4.2005 - Dumile Feni: A Retrospective Exhibition, Exhibition Resource, ill.
Works exhibited at Gallery 21, London, in February, 1975
► DUMILE BOOK PROJECT 2006 by PRINCE DUBE ◄
If you have additional information or images on DUMILE, please let us know so that we can update this page!
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