Airtime up forgrabs
Cutting-edge and impressive items on view at fair
This past weekend had all kinds of talented artists from 12 countries exhibiting their cutting-edge works at the FNB Art Fair in Sandton.
It was a perfect time for collectors and art enthusiasts to feast on the best contemporary art on offer.
This year’s work included multimedia, sculptures, photography, portraits, video art, painting, print-making and more.
The artworks were of high quality and tackled various subjects, such as sexuality, religion, economic stratification, poverty, slavery and violence.
Though pieces were not as many as in previous years, those on display compensated with high levels of creativity and bold statements.
Even better, this time around more female artists had a chance to shine in solo exhibitions. These included Sethembile Msezane, Lady Skollie, Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi, and Bronwyn Katz.
There were interesting finds like Mary Sibande, who presented stunning work Wielding the Collision of Past, Present and Future (2017).
For years, Sibande has been challenging the stereotypes and depictions of black women in society. She’s better known for using a sculptural alter ego named Sophie, a domestic worker, to discuss the themes of gender, race and class in a post-colonial South African context.
Meanwhile, another artist who could not be missed was Blessing Ngobeni. His works, resembling Picasso’s, were given a wider space to adequately show off Ngobeni’s artistic skills.
He produced a series of large-scale painted collage works, a figurative metal sculpture, an animation in which his figures are brought to life by his performance.
He said in a statement: “I wanted to get under the body, under the black body, and try to find what makes us human. Because when I look around, I don’t see it.
“I see people pretending to be human but serving only themselves … When we eat a chicken, we get right down to the bone, we suck at the marrow … I wanted to do that – to suck at the marrow, draw out the human.”
If that was just too deep, then Angolan photographer and filmmaker Antonio Ole provided more comfortable moments with his exciting works as part of his retrospective exhibition.
Born in Luanda, Angola, in 1951, he presented black-andwhite portraits to mark 50 years looking at life through the lens.
Ole proved to be a versatile artist, as his photography, films and multimedia works reveal a certain formal and aesthetic eclecticism. The elements in his work evoke not only the colonial period, but slavery, war, destruction, and poverty, as well as the ability to resist and survive.
Conceptual artist Meschac Gaba, from Benin, explored themes of globalisation and economy through the piece Bank or Economy: Inflation.
Gaba presented this piece that resembled a market stall stocked with tokens of symbolic value plus a fourth installation also related to trade and exchange.
Using found materials like Zimbabwean bank notes, coins and semi-precious stones, Gaba created an environment that plays with the perceptions of value inherent to conventional belief systems of cultural and economic exchange.
Antonio Ole shone in black and white.
Blessing Ngobeni’s exhibition questions humanity and its meaning.
Zim dollars form part of Meschac Gaba’s art on trade.
One of the artworks by Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi.