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Artist Athi-Patra Ruga has his first ma­jor ex­hi­bi­tion in Som­er­set House in Lon­don

- Arts · Somerset · United Kingdom · Mthatha · Queens · Athi-Patra Ruga · Somerset House

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.

 ?? Pic­ture: Jarred Fig­gins ?? Pro­posed Model for uMa­bele-bele, 2018,High Den­sity Foam with Ar­ti­fi­cial flow­ers and Jew­els, 92 x 60 x 58 cm. Top left, Athi-Patra Ruga
Pic­ture: Jarred Fig­gins Pro­posed Model for uMa­bele-bele, 2018,High Den­sity Foam with Ar­ti­fi­cial flow­ers and Jew­els, 92 x 60 x 58 cm. Top left, Athi-Patra Ruga
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