The first comprehensive retrospective exhibition of works by Albert AdamsÂ ran at Iziko Museum. Albert Adams was born in Johannesburg in 1930 but at the age of four came to Cape Town with his mother and sister. He attended Livingstone High School and studied at Hewat College in Cape Town. Unable to study at the Michaelis School of Art, University of Cape Town, because of the apartheid policies, he applied for, and was awarded a scholarship to study at the Slade School of Art in London where he studied from 1953 to 1956. He enrolled for a brief course of study at the Munich Academy of Arts and later in 1957 attended master classes under the internationally renowned artist, Oskar Kokoschka.
He returned to Cape Town where he exhibited widely but in 1960 decided to leave South Africa for good and settled in London. He taught for a while at schools in the East End of London and in 1979 was appointed to the staff of the City University, London where he lectured in art history for 18 years. Towards the end of 2006 Adams was diagnosed with lung cancer and after a brief stay in hospital passed away on 31 December 2006.
An instinctive expressionist Adamsâ€™ subject matter is evidence of a deep social commitment and he can rightly be seen as an heir to Francisco Goya (1740 â€“ 1828). Often his subject matter is inspired by international events but he alwaysÂ returned to South Africa for inspiration, depicting, amongst others, the homeless people of Cape Town, the darker side of the Cape Minstrels and in a more allusive way the â€˜baggageâ€™ or legacy of apartheid.
Although Adams exhibited extensively and, on more than one occasion was chosen to represent South Africa on international exhibitions, his long period of absence from South Africa has resulted in the undue neglect of a major talent.
This retrospective exhibition will result in Albert Adams being recognized and established as a major South African artist.