notes on spectrality, sorcery and the spirit

Gallery 9
Curated by Portia Malatjie
28 April – 22 October 2018

Stemming predominantly from a period between the 1950s and 1980s to as recent as the 2000s, the artworks in the Norval family’s Homestead Art Collection (and by extension, the exhibition) attest to a longstanding preoccupation with ideas of the oneiric, the spectral, and issues pertaining to different forms of black spiritual economies. Populated by spiritual iconography, representations of visits to the sangoma, and Christian worship, the works speak to a particular mode of black socialisation that is represented through traditional mediums such as painting, drawing, printmaking, and sculpture.

The exhibition seeks to offer an interventionist reading and grouping of these works in the context of contemporary art and contemporary black thought. It seeks to draw attention to the prominence of a return to the spiritual, and to in fact highlight that there is no return: the spiritual has always been present and prominent, willfully and unapologetically guiding South African artistic practice for centuries. It seeks to ask what strategies can be employed in dealing with the tenuous, albeit widespread spiritual practices in the context of South Africa, and what is at stake in necessarily bringing these questions to the fore?

Artists: Gladys Mgudlandlu, Noria Mabasa, Jackson Hlungwane, Cyprian Shilakoe, Gerard Sekoto, Trevor Makhoba, Dumile Feni, Thomas Kgope, Sithembiso Sibisi, Peter Clarke, Phuthuma Seoka and Billie Mandini.

Peter Clarke
The Blue Bird, 1959

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