While Marcel Duchamp’s focus was on industrial objects, owing to the formalism and perfection of scale they represented, Kaloki turns to traditional African industry. And so the use of sisal ropes, in particular, is prominent. The sisal ropes are often hand woven and prepared in an intricate process that involves threading, weaving, and braiding, and which demonstrates the significance of pre-colonial industries that were disrupted with the onset of European imperialism and colonialism.
“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
Oswald Dennis’ work is usually characterised by intricate topographical images that discourse the impact of colonialism on the African continent. In the ‘Options’ exhibition the artist showed that he is concerned with the impact of colonialism on the existential and ontological space. Intricate works or drawings also characterise this show, but their relationship with text is characterised by words that denote prepositions, text that articulate a sense of relevance in the protracted post-colonial present.
(text on home page)
Themba Tsotsi on the work of the South African artist Nolan Oswald Dennis
Two artists from different generations, different parts of the continent but speaking the same language- pop! Their union was lively one, a much-needed one for a scene that is not used to such vibrancy.
Artist and critic Matt Kayem on the Afro-Pop of Evans Mbugua and Dennis Osadebe
Dennis Osadebe, Gentleman on a Hors Indoors, 2018
So how are artists representing identity in a space between cultures relevant to our time? They are more than ever needed, for they push forward new ways of thinking, new rules, and a new world where different ways of thinking are merged and accepted. They hold several emics within them. They are pioneers, recreating histories and allowing it to flow through different paths never questioning its different authenticities, because it knows all is possible. They are the product and the answer to our globalized multicultural world.