In September 1997 MTN, one of the leading cell phone companies in South Africa, made a modest purchase of artworks by South African artists. This marked the beginning of what was to become a major corporate collection of South African art, comprising some 1400 African and South African works. It has been energetically researched, traveled, exhibited, discussed, debated and admired. With this new book, the MTN Art Collection has come of age.
The writers who have contributed essays to Messages and Meaning: The MTN Art Collection are renowned South African critics, art historians, anthropologists, and curators. The essays explore a variety of topics: the ceramics, beadwork, and textiles in the collection; the problems and challenges of curatorship in South Africa; MTN’s extensive holdings of Resistance posters; sculpture and mixed-media works in the collection; the architecture of MTN’s new corporate headquarters; and MTN’s place in discussions on contemporary South African art.
Messages and Meaning aims to be an informative, diverse, and sumptuous read for years to come. The book was launched simultaneously to the first national touring exhibition of the MTN Art Collection in 2012.