The collection includes (1,305) 35mm color slides, (325) 35mm color negatives, (331) photographic prints, (3) DVDs and manuscript materials. The images were produced between circa 1970s and 1999 and most depict the Ndebele peoples of South Africa in their kraals (homesteads) making bricks, thatching roofs, and performing other daily activities; architecture, especially homes with painted murals, churches, and schools; and ornamental objects, including leg rings, neck rings, maces, Nyoga (Snake), Pepetu, Jocolo, Linaga, Nguba, Ghabi, Breast Plates, and Scotch. While the majority of the photos document the Ndebele, there are also images of Venda, Zulu, Xhosa, Swazi, Sotho, Tsonga/Shangaan and Tswana peoples. Ceremonies including the Domba Initiation Dance, a Zulu wedding, and a Swazi Reed Dance are also represented. The photos were primarily taken in South Africa, including in Mpumalanga, Limpopo Province, Delmas, Loskop, and Nebo. Some of the photographs were taken by Zamie Liknaitzky and Norman Priebatsch.
The collection's manuscript materials date from 1977 to 2011 and include exhibition announcements and catalogs, publications, including articles and clippings, correspondence, and research notes. Many of the photos in catalogues were taken by Berna Jersich. The collection also contains three DVDs, Dungamanzi: Stirring Waters, Tsonga and Shangaan Art from Southern Africa, and two that document the exhibition l'Afrique: A Tribute to Maria-Stein-Lessing and Leopold Spiegel (Museum Africa, 2009), which was curated by Knight.
This collection is arranged according to format and is comprised of 5 series:
Series 1: Slides, circa 1977-circa 1983 (1305 items)
Series 2: Negatives, circa 1970s-circa 2000s (325 items)
Series 3: Photographic Prints, circa 1970s-circa 2000s (331 items, Boxes 1-2)
Series 4: DVDs, circa 2007-2009 (3 items, Box 2)
Series 5: Manuscript Materials, 1974-2011 (19 folders, Box 2)
Biographical / Historical:
Art gallery owner, collector, curator, researcher, writer and art critic Natalie Knight was born in Johannesburg, South Africa and earned a Diploma of Law (1957) and Bachelor of Arts (1974) from the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (Wits). After practicing as a lawyer for a short time, she moved her professional focus to art. She founded the Natalie Knight Gallery in Hyde Park (1981-1995), with the opening show Whatever Happened to Pop Art? which featured works by Warhol, Dine, Hamilton and Hockney. In 2007, along with Nessa Leibhammer, Knight curated Dungamanzi/Stirring Waters (Tsonga and Shangaan Art from Southern Africa) at JAG 2007 and l'Afrique: A Tribute to Maria-Stein-Lessing and Leopold Spiegel at Museum Africa in 2009. From December 2008 through 2012, Knight served as Art Curator for the West Campus at Wits University. In 2013 Knight curated the exhibition We Love Mandela: Art Inspired by Madiba, which previewed at the Peacemaker's Museum in Sandton to celebrate Mandela's 95th birthday (July 18, 2013), and (in October 2013) at the South African Embassy in Trafalgar Square, London. In 2014, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award in the Arts and Culture section from CEO Magazines "Most Influential Women in Business and Government". In 2017 Knight published her Art-O-Biography, The Big Picture, which documents the major events of her professional career.
A graduate of Smith College (B.A., 1971) and Harvard University (Masters in Theological Studies, 1974), Priebatsch has held such varying positions as volunteer teacher at Clarke School for the Deaf (1967-1971), Assistant Art Librarian at Yale University (Summer 1969), Director of the Hillel Program at Simmons College and Wheelock College (1972-1974), Education Programming and Public Relations Assistant at Johannesburg Art Gallery (1974-1975), Projects Officer at the Art Institute, South Africa (1975-1976), freelance writer, lecturer at University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, and Partner of the Economic Planning Group, Boston. She began an investment management career in 1986 and has worked at Smith Barney, now Morgan Stanley, for three decades. She is currently a Senior Vice President, with the title of Senior Investment Management Consultant, at Morgan Stanley.
Natalie Knight and Suzanne Priebatsch earned funding to research Ndebele art in South Africa from the Smithsonian Institution in 1976. Their collaboration produced an exhibition and audiovisual program, Designs of the Ndebele, for the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), which toured the United States from 1979 to 1981. Additionally, Knight and Priebatsch have published numerous books and articles, including Ndebele Images (1983), which accompanied the exhibition at the Natalie Knight Gallery, Johannesburg, 1983, Art of the Ndebele: Evolution of a Cultural Identity (Atlanta International Museum, 1998), which was produced for the exhibition at Atlanta International Museum, 1998, and two articles in African Arts: "Traditional Ndebele Beadwork" (1978) and "Ndebele Figurative Art" (1979). Knight and Priebatsch have placed examples of Ndebele and Tsonga/Shangaan art and artifacts in major museums around the world.
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Permission to reproduce images from the Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives must be obtained in advance. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.