Arena for Contemporary African, African-American and Caribbean Art

Author: Athi Mongezeleli Joja

text: email

Felix Shumba


His work speaks to the present by utilizing the past and invoking the violence enacted by the church, the military, and even the scientific fields, all under the guise of civilization so as to conquer and plunder black and brown nations.

Athi Mongezeleli Joja on the drawings of Felix Shumba, born in Zimbabwe, living in Johannesburg
INDX – Non Human, fold, opp. 33, 40, 109, 2020

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Dada Khanyisa: Good Feelings


She makes use of what we could call ordinary materials such as wood, plastic glass, mirrors, record cases, and so on; as well as creatively abstract instances of black people inside bars, restaurants, shebeens, homes, and different kinds of interiorities, with great humor and play.

Athi Mongezeleli on the new works of Dada Khanyisa
precoital convos, 2019, all works courtesy Stevenson Gallery, SA.

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A Black Aesthetic: A View of South African Artists (1970-1990)

SB'The Poet' by Nathaniel 'Nat' Ntwayakgosi Mokgosi (1946-2002).

A Black Aesthetic: A View of South African Artists (1970-1990) was an exhibition in the Standard Bank Gallery in Johannesburg. The presentation was curated by Dr Same Mdluli and was praised and criticized. Mdluli deceided to react on the critique she got. For Athi Mongezeleli Joja it was necessary to respond.

Nathaniel-Nat-Ntwayakgosi Mokgosi, The Poet

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What is the Role of Art Criticism Today?


Is the art critic an endangered species? Is he a mystical figure dubbed a critic? Is he white writing on blacks? Critic Athi Mongezeleli Joja is looking for answers.

Photo: Athi Mongezeleli Joja

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‘All Your Faves Are Problematic’


“The historical definitely has much to teach us today, in fact sometimes far more than the contemporary”, says art critic Athi Mongezeleli Joja. A recent exhibition of the Johannesburg Art Gallery – All Your Faves Are Problematic – proves that using history not always works out in the way he has in mind. “Most of the work shown in the exhibit coalesces around the voyeuristic and primitivistic impulse of the white artist, which over the last century has constructed black bodies as objects of anthropological and artistic fascination.“

Poster image of the exhibition

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