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The Art of Disruptions

The Art of Disruptions
Iziko South African National Gallery

This year, 2016, marks several keystones in the history of South Africa. The 60th anniversary of the 1956 Women’s March to Pretoria against pass laws, the declaration of District Six as a whites-only area in 1966 (under the Group Areas Act of 1950), the 40th anniversary of the 1976 youth protests, (mainly against the introduction of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction), and the 1986 declaration of a state of emergency (the first was in 1985) by the South African government intended to repress and curb mass action.

Reflecting on these events and on the contemporary times, the exhibition highlights some of the strategies artists have employed in the current milieu to deal with and comment on the various issues that plague our society. Some of these issues include racism, sexism, homophobia, inequality and privilege, migration and environmental degradation. In examining these themes and varied approaches, the exhibition questions the role that art plays in ‘social activism’ and also explores the contribution of media and technology in expressions of freedom and justice (or the lack thereof). At its core, the exhibition is intended to create dialogue. Guests to the exhibition will be presented with an opportunity to interactively contribute to the on-going discourse around notions of ‘protest’.

While foregrounding artworks from the permanent collections of the Iziko South African National Gallery, the exhibition will also feature contemporary loans and interventions which speak to this theme. On show are works on paper by Gerard Sekoto that illustrate in startly vivid compositions the violent scenes of the Sharpeville Massacre of 1960 while a selection of never before seen second World War Russian revolutionary posters highlight the discontent of a bygone era. Fast forward to the present and the works by contemporary artists Lawrence Lemaoana, Sethembile Msezane, Dean Hutton and Haroon Gunn-Salie to name a few - provide a window into the contemporary realities of life within post-apartheid South Africa that comment on issues such as corruption, priviledge, contested histories, racism and freedom.

The exhibition has been made possible with the generous support of Afronova and Iziko Museums of South Africa.

Gerard Sekoto, ‘The Sharpeville Massacre’ (1960)
Watercolour on paper
(Iziko Art Collections)

Other artworks included in the Exhibition…
Nhlanhla Benjamin Nsusha, ‘Amandla (Power)’ (1984)
Lithograph on paper

Gerald Machona, ‘Uri Afronaut’ (2012)

Fabrice Monteiro, ‘The Prophecy, Untitled #1’ (2014)
Photographic print

Sethembile Msezane, ‘Chapungu - The Day Rhodes Fell’ (2015)
Photographic print

Lawrence Lemoana, ‘Our Freedom Can’t wait’
Fabric and embroidery

Posted: Jun 9, 2016
Iziko South African National Gallery, 16 June -23 October 2016
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