Matereality – a testament to the challenge of tradition
curated by Andrea Lewis
At Iziko South African National Gallery until 02 August 2020

Photograph Nigel Pamplin © Iziko Museums of South Africa.

Matereality highlights how contemporary artists from the African continent are challenging traditional notions around what materials are suited to art-making. The group exhibition explores different issues and ideas such as climate and environmental issues; pollution; waste; xenophobia; poverty; beauty; gender; and politics – using certain materials to provide insight into their reality.

Open at the Iziko South African National Gallery from Friday, 14 February 2020, the exhibition unpacks how artists have used the materials, whether directly or indirectly, to raise questions about larger societal concerns. The selection of artists may explore a wide range of issues; however, the thread that connects them all is that of using materiality to guide the aesthetic experience.

Artists featured in the exhibition include Athi Patra-Ruga, Patrick Bongoy, Jodi Paulsen, Billie Zangewa, Bert Pauw, Bronwyn Katz, Cyrus Kabiru and Gabrielle Kruger – to name just a few.

Photograph Nigel Pamplin © Iziko Museums of South Africa.

These artists explore what is important to them with autonomy and authority, but without losing the material traditions that have been such an important part of their nation’s artistic or historical legacy. The materials being used often have an inherent history, which can offer a powerful starting point and make for a more meaningful process.
These mostly upcoming or established artists provide a glimpse into the vibrant South African art scene as well as the visual production from the rest of the African continent. This swathe of contemporary artists from across the continent are exploring ‘the material’ in new and exciting ways. The works encapsulate a very wide scope of materials, showing that ‘materiality’ is a rich subject; materials range from cow-hides to plastic bags, from bra-straps to pantyhose, from fake nails to computer parts.
Matereality, curated by Andrea Lewis, Iziko Curator of Prints and Drawings, is on show at the Iziko South African National Gallery from 14 February 2020.

Photograph Nigel Pamplin © Iziko Museums of South Africa.

Featured artists
Aaron Samuel Mulenga
Akudwe Elsie Chiwa
Alexandra Karakashian
Amy Rusch
Athi Patra Ruga
Bert Pauw
Billie Zangewa
Patrick Bongoy
Bronwyn Katz
Buhlebezwe Siwani
Bulumko Mbete
Carolyn Parton
Chris Soal
Cyrus Kabiru
Daniel Halter
David Brits
Dominique Edwards
Elias Sime
Turiya Magadlela
Frances Goodman
Francois Knoetze
Gabrielle Kruger
Gerald Machona
Igshaan Adams
Inga Somdyala
Jill Joubert
Jody Paulsen
Jake Singer
Kresiah Mukwazhi
Laurence Lemoana
Liza Grobler
Lyndi Sales
Mabunda Gonḉalo
Ibrahim Mahama
Michael MacGarry
Masimba Hwati
Maurice Mbikayi
Mawande Ka Zenzile
Mia Chaplin
Moffat Takadiwa
Mounir Fatmi
Nandipha Mntambo
Nicholas Hlobo
Nobuka Nqaba
Pascale Tayou
Pierrѐ Fouche
Pierre Vermeulen
Sandile Zulu
Serge Attukwei Clottey
Siwa Mgoboza
Stephanѐ Conradie
Usha Seejarim
Wallen Mapondera
Willie Bester

Photograph Nigel Pamplin © Iziko Museums of South Africa.


Patrick Bongoy | Killing Time, Mixed Media – recycled rubber on fibreglass cast, found wooden log


Usha Seejarim | A Letter, 2019 – Pegs and wire


Serge Attukwei Clottey | Too far from home (2017) Plastics, wires, and oil paint


Bert Pauw Compact (2019) 1400mm x 1020mm

Cyrus Kabiru | Blue Nile, 2017. Steel and Found Objects. 150 x 30 x 140 cm