Themba Shibase Paints Politics ‘Slightly Off Centre’

Anxious Afrikaner patriarchs and post-apartheid chief gangsters take centre stage in Themba Shibase’s new solo exhibition, Slightly off Centre. The Durban-based contemporary artist is known for his interrogation of current socio and political issues within a pan-African context, seeking to engage the “underlying issues behind the slow pace of development on this continent”.

Themba’s current show opened last week at SMAC Gallery and follows on from where his previous exhibition left off. Shown in Cape Town in 2013, Paint, Masculinity, Power and Violence was a jaundiced suite of paintings that interrogated African power structures – revealing how leaders like Robert Mugabe, Idi Amin and Mabutu Sese Seko abused their power, enriched themselves and imposed their oppressive will upon their helpless countrymen.

Slightly off Centre was first presented as part of the official program at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown in July this year. The body of work depicts politicians, business tycoons, captains of industry and professional trouble-makers. Themba’s critique is a bold one; calling out the African patriarchal culture that has given rise to a society based on male sexual entitlement and the abuse of women in the private realm, and dictatorial violence and corruption in the public realm.

An extract from the exhibition text reads, “Themba Shibase is an activist, and his bracing, yet harsh critique of the current shaky status quo is bound to make viewers question the premises upon which South African identity and politics are based. His imagery communicates immediately and effectively. It is the clarity of his metaphors and symbols that make him such a deeply impressive artist.”

Slightly off Centre is showing at SMAC Gallery until 21 November.

Off Centre
Off Centre
Portrait of an Anxious Afrikaner Patriarch
Portrait of an Anxious Afrikaner Patriarch
The Big Boys' Choir Sings for the Masse
The Big Boys’ Choir Sings for the Masse
Dead Fish and Knife
Dead Fish and Knife

Themba Shibase_The Catastrophic Encounter between Modernity and Africa_2013-14_Oil on Canvas_154 x 110 cm each

Untitled (Big Man with Big Black Beard)
Untitled (Big Man with Big Black Beard)
Metaphoric Portrait of a Chief Predator
Metaphoric Portrait of a Chief Predator
Bob Says No
Bob Says No
Post-apartheid Chief Gangster
Post-apartheid Chief Gangster
Post-colonial Pack Leader
Post-colonial Pack Leader

Artworks copyright Themba Shibase. Courtesy of SMAC Gallery.

 

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