South Africa’s Caversham Press to be highlighted at Boston University

Contact: Jean Connaughton, 617-353-7293 |
Contact: Lauren Davalla, 617-358-1688 |

(Boston) – The Boston University College of Fine Arts School of Visual Arts and the Boston University Art Gallery will exhibit 170 works by South African artists in two major exhibitions celebrating The Caversham Press. Running February 8 through March 27 at the 808 Gallery and BUAG at the Stone Gallery, the exhibitions speak to Caversham’s history as it reflects artists’ responses to the dramatic political and cultural shifts that have occurred in South Africa over the past two and half decades. Opening receptions for South Africa: Artists, Prints, Community / Twenty Five Years at The Caversham Press (808 Gallery) and Three Artists at the Caversham Press – Deborah Bell, Robert Hodgins and William Kentridge (BUAG at the Stone Gallery) will be held on Wednesday, February 9, 6-8pm. William Kentridge will also be this year’s featured artist in the seventh annual Tim Hamill Visiting Artist Lecture, held Monday, February 28 at 6:30pm in Morse Auditorium. All exhibitions and related events are free and open to the public.

The Caversham Press was founded in 1985 as the first comprehensive, independent printmaking studio in South Africa. Today, The Caversham Press has contributed significantly to the history of printmaking in South Africa through its collaboration with a wide range of established and emergent South African and international artists. Lynne Allen, Director of the BU School of Visual Arts and former Artist-in-Residence at The Caversham Press, explains the importance of bringing these exhibitions to students: “The legacy of apartheid is, for some of our students, a distant memory or does not even register on their radar screens. The Caversham Press exhibition, which will display fine art prints produced during a tense time in South Africa’s history, also addresses community outreach and the Center’s ongoing efforts of HIV/AIDS education and personal empowerment. This is very foreign to most American youth, never having had the same obstacles in their lives to overcome.” She continues, “We feel the two parts of the exhibition – the incredible print work done by international artists, coupled with the work done by local youth in the rural areas of KwaZulu Natal – will be a meaningful experience for our students. In addition, it will bring some spectacular work to the Boston viewing public and showcase the legacy of this amazing print atelier.”

Featuring over 120 works by 70 emergent and established artists, the exhibition South Africa: Artists, Prints, Community, Twenty Five Years at The Caversham Press held in Boston University’s expansive 808 Gallery, celebrates Caversham’s multifaceted history. Through image, text, and public programming, the exhibition traces Caversham’s development in South Africa—from the founding of The Caversham Press in 1985 to the establishment of The Caversham Press Educational Trust in 1993 and finally to the formation of the Caversham Centre for Artists and Writers in 2000—while simultaneously illustrating the rich visual diversity of South African printmaking.

The Boston University Art Gallery’s concurrent exhibition, Three Artists at The Caversham Press: Deborah Bell, Robert Hodgins and William Kentridge, features the work of three South African artists who were central figures in the founding years of Caversham, and among the first artists to make prints there. Bell, Hodgins, and Kentridge forged long-term relationships with both Caversham and with each other that led to the creation of three collaborative print portfolios—“Hogarth in Johannesburg (1986),” “Little Morals (1990-91),” and “Ubu Tells the Truth (1996-97)” — as well as numerous individual prints. Together, the works reflect Caversham’s early history and articulate the artists’ personal perspectives of living and creating in South Africa in the years between late apartheid and the transition to a new democracy. The exhibition comprises over 65 works, presenting selections from the three collaborative portfolios, and individual prints, including the debut of three new William Kentridge prints created specifically for the exhibition.

BU Exhibitions Director Lynne Cooney curated the exhibitions with Malcolm Christian of The Caversham Press and explains, “It was critical that the exhibitions reflect Caversham’s voice, which was made possible through two years of collaborative planning, three trips to South Africa, and endless correspondence and dialog. It was only in this unique partnership that twenty five years of printmaking could be appropriately celebrated and represented.” Prints from both exhibitions will be available for sale.

This year’s Hamill lecturer is one of South Africa’s leading visual artists and best known for his remarkable films, works on paper, and theatre productions. Kentridge’s work touches on the atrocities of apartheid and social injustice, yet also reflects the exhilarating freedom of the new South Africa. In Allen’s words, “William Kentridge made some of his first prints at Caversham Press, working large scale in silkscreen, during the early years of the Press. He has continued to work there over the last twenty-five years, as well as at other print workshops worldwide, but his hold on South Africa and his connection to Caversham has never waned.” The lecture series, named in honor of BU School of Visual Arts alumnus Tim Hamill, was created in 2004 to present artists whose work crosses boundaries among artistic disciplines, and who connect to the art world in a variety of ways.

These exhibitions are supported by the Estate of Lindagrace Stephens, the Boston University Humanities Foundation, BU College of Fine Arts Dean Benjamín Juárez, and Vice President and Associate Provost for Research Andrei E. Ruckenstein.


All events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted:

South Africa: Artists, Prints, Community / Twenty Five Years at The Caversham Press
February 8 – March 27
Opening Reception: Wednesday, February 9, 6-8pm
808 Gallery (808 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston)

Three Artists at the Caversham Press – Deborah Bell, Robert Hodgins and William Kentridge

February 8 – March 27
Opening Reception: Wednesday, February 9, 6-8pm
BUAG at the Stone Gallery (855 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston)

Lecture: Repositioning: White South African Artists in the ‘New’ South Africa
Pamela Allara, Professor emerita of Brandeis University
Presented by Boston University’s Graduate Student Art History Association
Monday, February 14, 5:30pm
BU College of Arts and Sciences (725 Commonwealth Avenue, Room 200, Boston)

Lecture: Social Imprinting, Paper Evidence: Pre- and Post-Apartheid South African Printmaking
Dr. Marion Arnold, Art Historian and Postgraduate Research Degrees Coordinator, School of the Arts, Loughborough University
Tuesday, February 15, 12:30-2pm
BU College of Fine Arts (855 Commonwealth Avenue, Room 500, Boston)

The Road to Mecca
, a play by Athol Fugard
February 16-March 5
BU Theatre, Lane-Comley Studio 210 (264 Huntington Avenue, Boston)
South Africa’s preeminent playwright explores the transformative power of art in this tale of an eccentric sculptor. A production from the Boston Center for American Performance (BCAP), the professional extension of the BU School, of Theatre. Directed by Judy Braha.
Tickets: $20 general admission; additional details available at

Gallery Talk with the staff of Caversham Center for Artists & Writers: Malcolm Christian, Founder & Director; Jabu Mtheku, Administrator; Sbusiso Mvalese, artist and intern; and Hlengiwe Dlamini, artist and intern
Thursday, February 17, 12:30-2pm
808 Gallery (808 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston)

Gallery Talk with Malcolm Christian

Friday, February 25, 3-4pm
808 Gallery (808 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston)

Tim Hamill Visiting Artist Lecture: William Kentridge
Monday, February 28, 6:30pm
Morse Auditorium (602 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston)


To request high resolution photos or interviews with exhibition coordinators, please contact either:
Jean Connaughton at 617.353.7293 or
Lauren Davalla at 617.358.1688 or