Artist Athi-Patra Ruga has his first major exhibition in Somerset House in London
Athi-Patra Ruga’s in full bloom
To the average South African, the words Somerset House smell very colonial, almost as if it were a frat house where portly British men with preposterous moustaches discuss cricket and oppression. This October, however, Somerset House will mean something very different for SA art fans as it plays host to Athi-Patra Ruga’s first major UK exhibition, Of Gods, Rainbows and Omissions.
Bringing together three recent series of work, Ruga’s exhibition will feature rarely seen pieces showcasing his flair for the mythical and eagerness to challenge SA’s post-apartheid political, social and cultural norms in arresting ways.
Hailing from Mthatha, Ruga’s star has continually brightened on the local art scene thanks to the delicious and bold ways in which he uses colour, mythology and avatars to address a number of issues that form the nucleus of our current zeitgeist.
His name started catching people’s attention a few years back when he unveiled The Future White Women of Azania, an exhibition that sought to, in some measure, create an alternative South African reality, one in which some of the citizenry were made of a cacophony of brightly coloured balloons.
He followed that up with
Queens in Exile in which he once again examined sociopolitical issues by deconstructing and reimagining black histories.
His latest exhibition is a melange of drawings, sculpture, film and photography that combine his love of colour with some photographs that look like they could be for a highly anticipated alt-R&B album.
The exhibition opens on October 4 and will run until January 6 2019.