Each year the Cape Town Art Fair showcases a diverse and eclectic mix of art with a strong African influence. In many ways it’s the best annual, African-focused art fair, and this year featured an incredible selection of artists who exhibited powerful, thought-provoking works.
Stacey Gillian Abe
Stacey Gillian Abe lives and works in Uganda, and her pieces are “an integration between man and a surreal mystical feel or aura to the work, at their best borne of two realms, two sides competing for and completing her creative vision.” Much of her work aims to highlight the fragility of the female mind, while also showcasing strength and resilience.
Renée Cox creates thought-provoking, topical works that highlight gender and racial tensions in present-day society. Her works form part of permanent collections in museums around the world, and in 2019 she will have her own retrospective museum show.
Turiya Magadlela hails from Johannesburg, and she works primarily with conceptually loaded fabrics, such as pantyhose and uniforms. Her subject matter deals with issues pertaining to motherhood, women, and stories of Black South African history.
Kimathi Mafafo has a multidisciplinary approach that includes installations, oil paintings and embroidery. She grew up in the semi-arid Northern Cape province of South Africa, yet her colorful and often lush works offer an altogether different imagery to her hometown of Kimberly.
Lucinda Mudge was born in South Africa in the late ’70s, and her works are primarily in the medium of ceramics. Each work is bold and colorful and includes remarkable detail, and deals with important issues such as violence, sexuality, and “socially ritualised excessive behaviours.”
Keyezua is an Angolan-Dutch artist born in the 1980s, and a storyteller who uses art as a communication tool. According to the artist, “art provokes, educates and empowers without pity.” She considers it a powerful tool that has the potential to aid “the further development of culture, economics, feminism, and individual development in Africa.”
Maïmouna Guerresi is an Italian artist who shares her time between Milan and Senegal. She has participated in several prestigious festivals and biennials, and her work presents “an intimate perspective on spiritual ideas of human beings in relation to their inner mystical dimensions.”
Lhola Amira is a South African artist who lives and works in Cape Town. Amira’s work aims to highlight modern manifestations of inequality, and her practice “speaks of the survival of black individuals, in particular black women, in a world dominated by white men.”
South African Buhlebezwe Siwani had a nomadic upbringing that saw her living in KwaZulu Natal, the Eastern Cape, and Johannesburg. She works predominantly in performance and installations, which sometimes includes photographs and videos of the actual performance.
Sethembile Msezane competed a Masters in Fine Art in 2017 at the University of Cape Town, and much of her work “maps out how the process of commemorative practice informs constructions of history, mythmaking, and ultimately addresses the paucity of the black female body in the monumentalisation of public spaces”. She’s had several solo and group shows both locally and abroad.
Lungiswa Gqunta is a South African artist born in Port Elizabeth and currently living in Cape Town. Much of the artist’s work examines tools of segregation and oppression. She uses common domestic objects that society often turns into oppressive weapons. For example, “bedsheets, beer bottles and matches recreate petrol bombs pointing to the mobilisation of modes of resistance and agency.”