Investec Cape Town Art Fair showcases a diversity of work that represents the forefront of contemporary art from Africa to the world, and the world to Cape Town.
The Fair is an opportunity for various galleries and curators from South Africa, rest of Africa and the world to showcase their contemporary art and artists. As so eloquently stated in the Fair’s brochures and media material “the Fair provides a platform for galleries, collectors, curators and artists from around the globe to engage in cultural and economic exchange”.
The cultural exchange has a way of captivating any audience as you gaze on the different forms of bold creative expressions from Africa and the rest of the world. The evident inspirational work of contemporary artists, at the Fair, challenged the status quo, highlighted the dangers of climate change, transformed the boundaries of ethnic, gender or class identities and told stories of their own deeply personal lives.
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Vibescout attends the Investec Cape Town Art Fair
As I walked the labyrinth of white walls and bold colours of sculptures, paintings and visual artistry I was amazed at the extraordinary talent and questions of self which came across my mind.
Fortunately for me, I had the opportunity to meet and interview 5 South African artists, Lwando Dlamini, Bonolo Kavula, Colijn Strydom, Atang Tshikare and Imraan Christian, which gave me a glimpse to their personal message behind the universal expression of art.
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Understanding the personal message of the artist will open up the barrier between what we think we deserve and do not deserve to partake. The art world seems so far away and out of reach for many people but leaping into the message behind the artist has the opportunity to make any person decide to invest in a message of an artist above the recognition or claim to a higher status.
Lwando Dlamini - Ebony Curated
Lwando Dlamini, is a visual artist born in Cape Town, partnered with Ebony/Curated, spoke about his experience and battles with violence. He has been in multiple accidents that left him in a coma, completely paralysed and close to death. He was beaten by police to the extent the hospital declared him a John Doe and his mother struggled to identify him.
Through all his turmoil with violence, on his body, and close calls to death it was hard to believe this amazing artist had a smile on his face while telling me his stories. It was not insincere but rather eyes of hope.
He’s autobiographical work speaks into that darkness but calls out a sense of hope or as he says, “in the silence I hear you.” In the silence and vulnerability of his mind and body failing him, because of violence, he declares hope through archiving memory in his art.
One look his work, In the Silence, captivates the viewer to understand the intricacies, complexities and intertwined nature of suffering and hope in the life we live.
- Instagram Handle: @dlaminilwando
Bonolo Kavula - Suburbia Contemporary
Bonolo Kavula, is a strong female visual artist from Kimberly, partnered with a Spanish affiliated Gallery, Suburbia Contemporary. Her work speaks so fondly of the simple beauty of ordinary materials and objects.
Her patient and meticulous demeanour drives her to produce delicate works of art. Her work is experimental in finding materials such as magazine paper, chappies wrappers and cardboard boxes that would be thrown away and disregarded as high-end art and transform it into captivating detailed visual sensory.
She ultimately transforms ‘nothing’ into ‘something’ sustainable which fits so well with her section of the Fair’s theme, Tomorrows/Today. As Bonolo eloquently stated her biggest question of sustainability is to ask herself, “how can I make something out of nothing?” After realising her passion in understanding sustainability as an art form she continues to find throw away materials to produce deeply technical art which allows admirers to love the ordinary beyond the norm.
Her life though is far from ordinary, with a great passion for her craft you come to understand she is a hard worker and invested in creating networks with various galleries. Bonolo both in her work ethic and content of her character illustrates the strength of artists to make a name for themselves and the messages they believe in, in the art world.
- Facebook Page: @bonolokavula
Colijn Strydom - 99 Loop Gallery
Colijn Strydom, is a visual artist from Pretoria, partnered with 99 Loop Gallery. Colijn has a very gentle and soft-spoken demeanour which one can see so prevalent in his work.
Talking with Colijn was a truly eye-opening experience that left me to question my ideas and thoughts of the role of the white masculine narrative. He gently stated, and almost dreamlike, his view of the world right now. He feels the tension of the white masculinity and allows himself to question his own narrative.
He sees the fear we have for one another as we pass each other in our daily lives. He attempts to discover the relation between politics and spirituality.
With all these streams of thought and imaginaries he envisions a life beyond these tensions and attempts to paint and draw the life he sees of both the past and future intertwined. The tension in his message and his art has a sense of a dream...a dream we should try and see.
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Atang Tshikare - Southern Guild
Atang Tshikare, is a Bloemfontein multi-disciplinary artist with work using various materials like leather, fabric, wood, metal, resin, ceramic, plastic, paper and bronze. He is partnered with Southern Guild. He utilises both man-made material and natural elements and structures to inspire ‘new’ designs.
Atang’s art speaks to his understanding of being a young black South African. He continuously gathers cultural histories and narratives and transforms these streams of being into objects with Afrofuturistic representations. In addition, Atang’s thought provoking need to discover more about his people, nation and continent and his collaboration with his wife in connecting sociolinguistics and indigenous knowledge is quite evident in his art.
His work is impeccable, and it is inspiring to see his art has been exhibited all around the world. His collaboration with BMW has left him in the ranks of Dr. Esther Mahlangu, the famous South African visual artist, that also illustrated her work on BMW vehicles.
One thing is for sure, if you purchase Atang’s work you will not regret having a leading artist and thinker in your space as the message and complexities of his research is subtly revealed through his art.
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Imraan Christian - Kalashnikovv Gallery
Imraan Christian, is a visual artist, photographer and film director from Grassy Park, Cape Town, partnered with Kalashnikovv Gallery. Imraan’s personality is as captivating as his work.
His photography and passion illustrate a sense of transcendence or as he says, “dala what you must!” (do what you must do). Equally he believes his story-telling nature is to represent the “duality of challenges and triumphs which will bring about a nuanced story of human condition.”
His passion to discover and present the spectrum of what it means to be a being with both suffering and victory illustrates a different vision of self and identity politics in South Africa. His message and mission is to consider his community and youth when depicting narratives and in-depth storytelling in his art.
Imraan is also known for his subtle artistic disruptions with YoungstaCPT and as we laughed and spoke about his future subtle disruptions he reminds me of the path he has to take to elevate stories and be the source of information and opportunities that uplifts an identity and/or future artist.
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All in all, Investec Cape Town Art Fair revealed the high quality of cultural exchange of art and the endless possibilities of economic exchange for artists. The potential of our country and continent revealed at the Art Fair through the eyes, hearts and messages of each artist that was interviewed portrayed the rise of this beautiful nation in both cultural and economic exchange.
The multiple talks ranging from ‘Art and Philanthropy in Africa’, to the walkabouts with Nkule Mabaso curator of Michaelis School of Fine art, to the ART.DOC film screening at the Labia, and to the various exhibitors, one can come to understand the wealth of culture we have in Africa.
The Fair is a platform of recognition for the hard work ethic, in-depth storytelling and opportunities of art, artists, curators and galleries. I would encourage everybody to try and experience the art in our city, nation and continent. Let us become active participants in supporting our artists. So many people will deny themselves the opportunity to see the Investec Cape Town Art Fair like I have done for so many years.
But today, I stand proud of the artists we have, the messages they are developing and the hope they bring through the universal expression of art in Africa.
A massive Thank You to the team at Investec for curating this incredible showcasing of talent and allowing us to attend!
Article written by: Rosca Warries
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