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'iSenzo Sak’dala: Indlela ibuzwa kwaba phambili’ - art exhibition preview

Last night I joined Art School Africa along with RESERVOIR and FEDE Arthouse for an exclusive preview and walkabout of 'iSenzo Sak’dala: Indlela ibuzwa kwaba phambili’ which translates to ‘An Ancient Act: Direction is sought from those who have come before' ahead of next week’s public opening. 

Hosted at RESERVOIR which is on the 7th floor of the Bree Castle House, 68 Bree Street in Cape Town.

The beautiful panoramic cityscape set the backdrop for this slightly cold June evening.  As we arrived, the sunset greeted us with soft pinks and as it darkened both the buzz of the city and the cityscape disappeared.

The quiet earthly energy of the show captivates you at first glance. It’s easy to see how much care and attention was paid to each element of texture in this exhibition.  As you wonder through the artworks you can feel how deliberate each mark is.

Elements like cow skin, earth, beading are used in subtle and masterful ways to reflect on the contemporary African experience creating the elements of the contemporary African identity. The calm, quiet stark space with the vibrant tones of browns in contrast to the city bustling downstairs evokes a powerful energy.

Curator Lebo Kekana opened the evening on a beautiful note. Combining design and fine art he mentioned that the essence of the exhibition was to explore how we can ‘mine the richness in our context’.

Often when we speak of our default examples, in part an effect of globalisation, we speak of the European experience. Kekana purposefully moves away this and focuses on the relationship to material in Southern Africa.

Both in how we as a continent created historically and how contemporary artists use this context to explore their every day experiences.

The exhibition explores the richness of Africa. It looks back to the harmonious and historical context and how we engage in this material world now.

One thing he mentioned which is beautifully haunting is the exhibition is a conversation through time - seeking direction from the past.

Showcasing artists from different parts of Southern Africa the themes of  identity, ritual, self-identify, architecture and spirituality are  woven together into a visual conversation.

Modernity mined through context with an emphasis on what has remained constant through revolution (for example the Industrial revolution) and how in a time of revolution and questioning identity by looking back we allow space for discovery.

It was phenomenal to have the curator and some of the artists in the space and truly reflected the integral nature of story telling in Africa. There’s nothing as powerful as hearing a creator’s process in person.

The exhibition will be opening this coming Thursday on the 20th June. Thank you to Art School Africa, Reservoir and Fede art house for the beautiful evening. As of all true experiences the end is left with a lingering feeling. As a ritual in itself of engaging and pausing. Often a question is what lingers yet this show is so aptly named 'iSenzo Sak’dala: Indlela ibuzwa kwaba phambili’. It was evening of engaging and coming together.


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