Prof Ben van Wyk receiving one of Patrick Rulore’s artwork. Photo: Manyatsa Monyamane.
Rulore is a highly successful emerging artist who graduated with a National Diploma in Fine Art from TUT in 2019. He was awarded the overall prize at the Sasol New Signatures Art Competition in 2019 and hosted his first solo exhibition at the Pretoria Art Museum in November 2021.
Rulore recently delivered two paintings to the office of Prof Ben van Wyk, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching, Learning and Technology. Prof van Wyk was instrumental in establishing the TUT Art Collection by securing seed funding from TUT’s Executive Management Committee.
Upon receiving the two artworks, Prof van Wyk commented that “many famous artists, such as Banele Khoza, Michael Selekane, Cow Mash, and Jan van der Merwe are TUT alumni” and that “it is a great privilege to be part of a long-overdue initiative to collect and preserve the work of talented TUT graduates.”
In the painting titled Future Profs 2 (2022), we see a group of young people determined to learn and gain knowledge despite difficult and challenging circumstances such as lack of electricity. This image is a visual embodiment of TUT’s mission to cultivate and train future professors. The second artwork is titled One device left (2021) and illustrates four individuals watching a video on a mobile device, signifying the primacy of technology and the creative industries. In this painting, Rulore focuses on the impact of load shedding on South African society.
According to Pfunzo Sidogi, Head of the Department of Fine and Studio Arts, the TUT Art Collection will serve four key functions aligned to the University’s strategic objectives. Firstly, the collection will be used for educational purposes, wherein teaching and learning activities are facilitated based on the artworks. Secondly, it will be used for research endeavours wherein TUT staff and students develop research projects linked to the holdings. Thirdly, it will serve as a repository of cultural and heritage preservation. And finally, through regular exhibitions, the collection will facilitate greater community participation in the University’s programmes.
Patrick Rulore standing behind Future Profs 2, 2022. Oil on Canvas. Photo: Manyatsa Monyamane.
Sidogi also emphasises the importance of the artworks being seen and appreciated by the TUT community. “There’s no point in buying and preserving these beautiful objects if nobody gets to enjoy and contemplate them. We want the artworks to be displayed at all TUT campuses, either in offices, lecture halls or via traveling exhibitions,” he states.
TUT already boasts an impressive assortment of artworks that presently hang or sit in various offices and corridors of the Faculty of Arts and Design. These artworks will form part of the collection’s initial registry. In the short term, a part-time curator will be appointed to audit and take care of the existing artworks owned by TUT and facilitate the purchase of new works. Furthermore, a temperature-controlled and custom-fitted 12m shipping container will be purchased and used as an initial storage space for the artworks.
Although the TUT Art Collection is a newcomer to the world of university-based art collections, it aspires to become a unique and niche collection that encompasses, amongst others, fashion couture, film archives, bespoke designs, and high-end multimedia creativity.