An Expression of Bearing Witness on Behalf of an Express Cause: Protest, an Exhibition

Protest Exhibition

 

Protest is a group show at Hazard Gallery curated by Beathur Mgoza Baker. It comprises artworks from South African and African artists that engage with notions of resistance and reads as both a response to the current socio-political milieu and the artist’s role (responsibility?) as social commentator. The exhibition features artwork by Vusi Beauchamp, Kudzanai Chiurai, Willem Boshoff, Abdoul-Ganiou Dermani, Gerald Machona, Angus MacKinnon, Pola Maneli, Samson Mnisi, Lavar Munroe, Artu Peatoo, Kenan Petersen, Jumoke Sanwo, Johan Thom, MJ Turpin, Fiatsi Va-Bene, Usha Seejarim and Laura Windvogel (Lady Skollie).

 

The works on the show are bold, and for the most part unambiguous in their commentary. The centre-piece of the show however is Willem Boshoff’s Racist in South Africa (2011), which caused quite an uproar recently because of its inclusion in the official South African Pavilion at the Venice Biennial. Boshoff has defended the work, and his artistic and personal position, which was published as a scrapbook by the gallery for this exhibition. The book features responses to and critiques of the artwork that Boshoff collected online during the debacle. Indeed, the exhibition makes much of the merits and courage needed to take a firm stand and stick by it. This quote by Elie Wiesel serves as preface to the text accompanying the show: “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

 

The text continues: “Art and activism have a long history and the ability to refocus society. The views artists take can educate and galvanise action out of complacency and challenge popular narratives. The artist’s position in society is to remain independent, to stand firmly against censorship and the abuse of human rights. There are times when these abuses and censorship is so prescient that the reaction has to be stronger and more immediate. Artworks that emerge from this vacuum often act as a scintilla, igniting a society into a collective ‘NO’.”

 

Protest is on at Hazard Gallery (previously NIROXprojects) at Arts on Main until the 12 July.

 

Protest Exhibition
Gerald Machona – Amai doenda kuJoburg nemari yebepa (Mother I am going to Joburg with paper money) I & II
Protest Exhibition
Johan Thom – Workhorse
Protest Exhibition
Willem Boshoff – Racist in South Africa
Protest Exhibition
Kudzanai Chiurai – Displaced (L) Angus MacKinnon – Some Taxi Drivers (Series) (R)
Protest Exhibition
Artu Peatoo – Wlwgy to the Republic 1, 2 & 3
Protest Exhibition
Samson Mnisi – Untitled

Protest Exhibition

Protest Exhibition
Lavar Munroe – Shank A (Blue green blade), Shank B (right wrist shank), Shank C (rust blade)
Protest Exhibition
Kenan Petersen – TEETH
Protest Exhibition
Kenan Petersen & Nathaniel Goto – TEETH
Protest Exhibition
Artu Peatoo – Elegy to the Republic
Protest Exhibition
Pola Maneli – All That Power
Protest Exhibition
Vusi Beauchamp – Cry Wolf
Protest Exhibition
Laura Windvogel (Lady Skollie) – ‘Women’ after Picasso’s recently censored ‘Women of Algiers’ (1954)
Protest Exhibition
Fiatsi Va-Bene – Crucifixion 2

Protest Exhibition

Agency

Hazard

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