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The Spirit Of The Truth

The Spirit Of The TruthAsa leading printmaker in the international art community, Tuftsgraduate Kim Berman is also a part of a major artistic partnershipbetween Boston and her native South Africa.Medford/Somerville,Mass.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [01.27.05] After a fire claimed the life of her business partnerand the studio they had founded together in Johannesburg, SouthAfrica, the art of printmaker Kim Berman (A’89) took onan added level of depth. Works by her and students from the rebuiltstudio are now on display at Harvard as part of a celebrationof South African art.

“Myartwork, over the past few years has explored fire as a metaphorfor the South African process of transformation and the purgingof the landscape to make way for new growth,” Berman toldThe Artist’s Press.

While at Tufts,Berman was supported by Morris Simon, a physician who was a keyfigure for the Boston-area South African community.
“He was a guardian angel and a real patron, buying workby struggling artists,” Berman told The Boston Globe.He and [his wife] Josie connected me with other antiapartheidforces when I was a student in Boston.”

Berman toldthe Globe that Simon’s brother Barney, who co-rana multiracial theatre in Johannesburg during the peak of apartheid,was an inspiration to her in setting up Artist Proof, the studioshe co-founded in 1992 with Soweto artist Nhlanhla Xaba

In March 2003,the studio was destroyed in a fire which also killed Xaba andconsumed all the artwork inside. Thanks to its reputation, thestudio was able to reopen a year later with the help of donations.

“Workingtogether as a team is part of the Artist Proof philosophy. Sois the focus on printmaking: Multiples can send messages to afar wider audience than a unique work of art can,” the Globewrote of Berman’s studio.

The AmericanRepertory Theatre's South African Festival is currently showcasingart by students at Artist Proof, including a collage entitled“Out of the Fires” which consists of fragments ofart salvaged from the burned-down studio.

Another oneof the pieces on display is Berman’s 1999 work ''The Spiritof the Truth," which depicts a blazing fire set against adark, smoky sky.

“Bermanused the image metaphorically, as a response to her country'sTruth and Reconciliation Commission, which examined in great detailthe horrors of apartheid,” the Globe wrote in describingthe piece. “Berman's fire symbolizes a fresh start.”




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