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Cape Town…

more than just a pretty face.

Athi-Patra Ruga, The Night of the Long Knives II, 2013. Image – Tyburn Gallery

The beautiful beach city of Cape Town in South Africa has turned itself into a cultural hub now that the world-class 100,000 square foot Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art opened its doors in September 2017. Cape Town’s annual February art fair and gallery district were already getting the global attention they deserved.

An art exhibition currently featuring 15 inspiring young South African artists who have carried the burden of South Africa’s history of violence and injustice in the apartheid era, is that of Tell Freedom, by all means necessary, which runs until 6 May. The inspiring representative artists featured in this exhibition, being held at the art venue Kunsthal KAdE in Amersfoot, the Netherlands, are: Bronwyn Katz, Neo Matloga, Donna Kukama, Haroon Gunn-Salie, Nolan Oswald Dennis, Lerato Shadi, Madeyoulook, Buhlebezwe Siwani, Lebohang Kganye, Ashley Walters, Francois Knoetze, Mawande Ka Zenzile, Kemang Wa Lehulere, Dineo Seshee Bopape and Sabelo Mlangeni. The Johannesburg gallery Kalashnikov will also feature South African artists Io Makandal, Vusi Beauchamp, Herman de Klerk and Thulile Gamadze at the Stockholm Supermarket Art Fair in April.

Other exhibitions by South African artists in Cape Town and elsewhere in South Africa in the following months include Rose Mudge’s first solo In My Room with Mazzy Star at the exciting young gallery, Smith Studio in Cape Town, in April. Ground-breaking WhatIfTheWorld gallery in Cape Town will show Rowan Smith’s exhibition in May and, also in Cape Town, a photographic exhibition by David Goldblatt, the legendary photographer described as South Africa’s ‘visual conscience’ and Peter Magubane, will run from 2 June until 14 July at the Goodman Gallery.

Talented performance artist Igshaan Adams – the selected artist for the Visual of the Artist of the Year – will be the highlight of the National Arts Festival from 28 June to 9 July. September will feature an exhibition by installation and performance artist Buhlebezwe Siwani at WhatIfTheWorld and South Africa’s most famous contemporary artist, William Kentridge, is exhibiting at the Goodman Gallery from 13 October to 10 November.

Jeanne Gaigher, an emerging artist from Cape Town, will exhibit her work at the Smith Studio from 31 October to 1 December whilst Sam Nhlengethwa, known for his hard edge collage-cut artworks, will be exhibiting at the Cape Town Gallery from 8 November to 8 December.

South African artists who have been adding their voices and putting South Africa on the map are numerous. A few names to mention are: Athi Patra-Ruga (photography), Tracey Rose (multimedia artist), Ayanda Mabulu (political paintings), Wayne Barker (political paintings), Penny Siopis (paintings), Robert Hodgins, Mohau Modisakeng (self-portraits), and twin brothers Hasan and Husain Essop (photography questioning Muslim stereotypes).

Other South African artists making headlines in recent years include Lawrence Lemaoana (fabrics), Ley Mboramwe (expressionist paintings), Simphiwe Ndzube, Erin Chaplin, Kirsten Sims, Blessing Ngobeni (paintings), Mary Sibande (sculptures probing the stereotypical contextualisation of the black female body), Bambo Sibiya (prints), Merwe Marchand (design), Richard Ndimande (paintings), Vusi Beauchamp (print/painting), Senzeni Marasela (drawings, prints, thread works), Nandipha Mntambo (sculpture), Lionel Smit (portraits)and Johannes and Collen Maswanganyi (sculpture).

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