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Exciting plans to exhibit works online for vNAF2020

Published on 28 May 2020

The National Arts Festival is going virtual this year with an exciting programme that includes visual art. There will be a wide-ranging and eclectic collection of works from South Africa and the world available to view and explore online between 25 June and 5 July.

The National Arts Festival’s annual Makhanda take-over usually involves the transformation of dozens of spaces in the city into temporary art galleries. This year, it will all happen digitally with visitors able to view the works from the comfort of their own homes.

Using a variety of technologies, the curated programme includes 2020 Standard Bank Young Artist for Visual Art Blessing Ngobeni; Pitika Ntuli’s solo exhibition Azibuyele Emasisweni (Return to the Source), which features works sculpted in bone; and Phumulani Ntuli’s Frequencies of a Birthmark_Episode 1, a Creative Digital Arts exhibition that explores clan name lineage and histories in a virtual reality architectural walkthrough. This is just a taste of the selection of works soon to be announced.

Visual Art on the vFringe

There will also be a vibrant Fringe visual art element to the Virtual National Arts Festival this year, and artists are invited to exhibit their work online as part of vFringe 2020

National Arts Festival Fringe Manager Zikhona Monaheng says, “We have facilitated this space for artists to showcase their work and also for buyers to be able to connect directly with artists and potentially even commission works. This is a great opportunity for artists who may not ordinarily be able to attend the Festival to exhibit through this virtual channel.”

The Festival’s website is being redesigned to accommodate this year’s changes. Artists will be provided with a page on the website, where they can display examples of their artwork in a digital exhibition format. While the Festival will not provide e-commerce facilities, viewers wishing to commission or purchase artwork will be able to  access the contact details, websites and social media details of the artists.

National Arts Festival CEO Monica Newton says, “The idea is to provide a showcase platform to enable visual artists to exhibit their work and for Festival viewers to experience a user-friendly virtual exhibition. We hope that audiences that may not traditionally visit art exhibitions during the live Festival, will, this year, find time to browse through these virtual galleries.”

  • Note for visual artists: Registration to participate is free of charge – artists need to complete the participation form on the Festival website’s Artist Zone, submitting good quality images and other details that will appear in their virtual gallery. Work will be pre-moderated to ensure that images comply with universal guidelines for online presentation. 
  • Submissions for artists’ work is now open and will close on 15 June 2020. The full programme will be announced mid-June and the Festival will run from 25 June-5 July 2020. Queries can be directed to