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Albert Adams Honoured in Manchester

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Two exhibitions at the University of Salford in Manchester honour the life and work of South African painter Albert Adams. Opened on the evening of 10 April, an exhibition titled Incarceration foregrounds Adams' critical responses to acts of political violence and oppression in Darfur, Abu Ghraib and in South Africa, with a particular emphasis on the imprisonment of political prisoners on Robben Island. The second exhibition, titled The Burden, presents an overview of Adams life and career as an artist.



Albert Adams, Self Portrait, Woodcut, 1958.Two exhibitions at the University of Salford in Manchester honour the life and work of South African painter Albert Adams. Opened on the evening of 10 April, an exhibition titled Incarceration foregrounds Adams' critical responses to acts of political violence and oppression in Darfur, Abu Ghraib and in South Africa, with a particular emphasis on the imprisonment of political prisoners on Robben Island. The second exhibition, titled The Burden, presents an overview of Adams life and career as an artist. This exhibition boasts a selection of rarely seen paintings and prints, as well as a number of sculptural works of African and Asian origin from Adams' personal collection. The Burden opened on 23 March and runs until 3 June.

The exhibitions have been made possible by a recent bequest to the University comprising a large number of drawings, paintings and prints by Adams. Following the exhibitions at the University of Salford, the bequested works will visit several other exhibition venues in the United Kingdom. The bequest is one of the most exhaustive single collections of Adams' work. It contains almost 100 paintings, with prints and drawings in addition, and spans six decades of artistic production. The gift was made by the late Adams'
partner, Edward Glennon. According to a statement released by the University of Salford, Glennon plans to donate more works to museums and galleries in South Africa.

Albert Adams was born in Johannesburg in 1929 to a so-called "coloured" family, and relocated to Cape Town with his mother in 1933, following his parents' separation. After completing his schooling, Adams
applied to the Michaelis School of Art at the University of Cape Town to study fine art, but his application was rejected on the basis of the university's racially exclusive acceptance policies. Adams pursued a teaching degree instead, and became heavily involved in student politics. After two arrests, he decided to leave South African for the United Kingdom, and was accepted for study at the Slade School of Fine Art in London. Following his studies in London and elsewhere in Europe, Adams lived between South Africa and the United Kingdom, as political circumstances would allow.

Adams passed away on 31 December 2006, and left many of his works to the Iziko South African National Gallery, which hosted a retrospective of his work in 2008. Incarceration and The Burden are the first survey exhibitions of Adams' work since 2008.