A variety of emotions and personal experiences will all be translated into art as part of ‘Tomorrows/Today’, a special project taking centre stage at the Cape Town Art Fair, taking place from Friday to Sunday, February 19 to 21, at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. Featuring a rich array of mediums including installation, video, drawing, sculpture, painting and photography, the special project will give art enthusiasts, investors and collectors the opportunity to experience the works of eight emerging artists from around the continent.
According to curators Azu Nwagbogu and Ruth Simbao, whose contribution to the special project is the title ‘Consuming Us’, “This special project aims to open up ideas about consumption by playfully yet seriously considering the ways in which tomorrow’s artists cannot and should not be pinned down by today’s ideas. Furthermore, it contemplates the ways in which human beings are consumed by so many aspects of life. ‘Consuming Us’ provides a platform for the eight artists to speak about the ideas and concerns – whether small, large, positive, negative, tangled or in-between – that consume them.”
The artists include Thania Petersen of Everard Read, Rehema Chachage from Circle Art Agency, Gresham Tapiwa Nyaude from First Floor Gallery, Masimba Hwati from SMAC, Laura Windvogel (AKA Lady Skollie) of WorldArt, ruby onyinyechi amanze from Goodman Gallery, Kyle Morland from Blank and Mathias Chirombo of Gallery Noko.
Petersen, who describes her work as quite theatrical in style, gives a voice to her community – Indonesian descendants living in South Africa. She will be showing a video titled ‘Baqa’ alongside her ‘Rampies’ installation. Together the two engage the senses and speak of the Cape Malay people’s spiritual rituals. She will also be presenting a second body of work called ‘Botanical Imperialism’, comprised of two photographs highlighting the impact of colonialism both on the natural environment and Petersen’s people.
With his final selection still to be decided, visitors to the Fair can expect oil paintings from Nyaude that layer meanings and symbols as well as translate the verbal into the visual. He relates the theme of his presentation to the intensity of life in Harare. Should he walk away as the competition winner with a prize of R75000, Nyaude says, “Winning would be a wonderful encouragement. I am about to become a father for the first time, so I already feel blessed. In a way, if I win the prize, it would be a gift not only for me but also for my baby.”
Also hailing from Zimbabwe, Hwati is a multidisciplinary artist who describes himself as an interrogator of ‘postcolonial hangover cultures’. His work explores the transformation and evolvement of knowledge systems that are indigenous to his own cultural background whilst experimenting with the symbolism and perceptions attached to cultural objects. With a focus on sculptural works, his process involves collecting historical, culturally imbued items, altering them and placing them into a contemporary urban context. For Tomorrows/Today, he will be using a myriad of found materials that will include Neo-tribal masks made from old rugby balls and incorporating an array of smaller objects that blur the lines between traditional and modern ideas.
Renowned for her cheeky watercolour paintings and contribution-based projects, Laura Windvogel, under the pseudonym of Lady Skollie, produces work revolving around the themes of gender roles, sex, greed and lust. Her contribution to the special project is entirely inspired by the life and tragedy of Saartjie ‘Sarah’ Baartman. Titled ‘Hottentot Skollie’, the artist hopes his presentation will provoke thoughts of objectification and the consumption of the female form. With the research help of Ilze Wolff, who designed Baartman’s final resting place and the Centre of Remembrance in Hankey in the Eastern Cape, Windvogel will explore the white male gaze over-sexualizing the black female form.
With a style that she says is minimal, playful and calculated, amanze will be exhibiting several drawings at the Fair. These are part of an ongoing body of work that thinks about shifting and creating worlds together with the power of play. She draws with mostly traditional materials such as graphite and ink and is intrigued by the idea of embedding secrets onto the surface of paper, which she feels is a living and breathing material.
Preferring not to ascribe a particular style to his art, Morland will be submitting an overview of his practice with works in different mediums in line with his interpretation of the theme as being “the exhaustion of raw materials transformed into energy for necessity need and greed.” He will be showing sculptures made from bent mild steel, along with a wall-mounted sculpture.
Chirombo, whose style varies between realistic and abstract painting, will be submitting work inspired by loss of his father. It explores the crossing over of a person when they die -from living to dead and from human to spirit form.
The participants of Tomorrows/Today will be judged by a panel that includes Luigi Fassi, the Visual Art Curator at the Steirischer Herbst Festival in Graz, Austria and Ernestine White, Curator of Contemporary Art the South African National Gallery.
* For more information, visit www.capetownartfair.co.za.