Matereality, brilliantly curated by Andrea Lewis, at at the Iziko South African National Gallery, highlights how contemporary artists from the African continent are challenging traditional notions around what materials are suited to art-making.
The group exhibition explores different issues and ideas such as climate and environmental issues; pollution; waste; xenophobia; poverty; beauty; gender; and politics – using certain materials to provide insight into their reality.
Matereality unpacks how artists, in the 21st century, have used the materials, whether directly or indirectly, to raise questions about larger societal concerns. The selection of artists may explore a wide range of issues; however, the thread that connects them all is that of using materiality to guide the aesthetic experience.
Artists featured in the Materiality Exhibition
Artists featured in the exhibition include Athi Patra-Ruga, Patrick Bongoy, Jodi Paulsen, Billie Zangewa, Bert Pauw, Bronwyn Katz, Cyrus Kabiru and Gabrielle Kruger – to name just a few.
These artists explore what is important to them with autonomy and authority, but without losing the material traditions that have been such an important part of their nation’s artistic or historical legacy. The materials being used often have an inherent history, which can offer a powerful starting point and make for a more meaningful process.
These mostly upcoming or established artists provide a glimpse into the vibrant South African art scene as well as the visual production from the rest of the African continent. This swathe of contemporary artists from across the continent are exploring ‘the material’ in new and exciting ways. The works encapsulate a very wide scope of materials, showing that ‘materiality’ is a rich subject; materials range from cow-hides to plastic bags, from bra-straps to pantyhose, from fake nails to computer parts.
Matereality is curated by Andrea Lewis, Iziko Curator of Prints and Drawings. The focus is NOW and an incredibly sharp overview of what is happening on the art scene.