Rituals opened yesterday at the AVA Gallery in Cape Town, showcasing the works of four emerging artists from Southern Africa. Rituals is the culmination of the Nando’s Creative Exchange programme, administered by Spier Arts Trust, with a body of work presented by four professional artists namely: Christo Basson, Ludumo Maqabuka, Nkoali Nawa and Nkosinathi Quwe.
Nando’s Creative Exchange is an artist career development programme that creates a mentoring opportunity for participating artists to develop a unique personal narrative in their work while building the professional-practice skills vital for artist’s career development.
Born in South Africa and taken to the world, there are many rich and fascinating stories captured within each piece of art seen at Nando’s. No one restaurant is the same, each has a unique print made up of functional and decorative art that represents South African flavour and heritage.
“Artistry is woven into the Nando’s DNA. The Nando’s Creative Exchange Programme allows us to elevate the profile of our remarkable talent, and at the same time we are able to support these artists by furnishing our restaurants with authentic South African and African art,” saysKirsten Niehaus – Nando’s Art & Internal Communications Manager.
Today, Nando’s is the largest collector of Southern African art in the world, with over 21 000 pieces in its collection, displayed in more than 1200 restaurants in 24 countries around the world. Nando’s supports more than 350 artists through various artist career development programmes administered by Spier Arts Trust, including Nando’s Creative Exchange.
About the exhibition
The four participating artists in this group exhibition have found new meaning in Rituals of the everyday. Shifting from commenting on notions of justice and injustice, they gather real experience beyond imagined ideals. From music sampling to religious devotion, from work to play, they borrow from the past in order to create new personal realities.
“This year’s Creative Exchange exhibition shows the work of four emerging, Southern African fine artists who demonstrate exceptional ability. They have been encouraged to create a comprehensive body of work for a group exhibition with the support of a mentor, who provides them with curatorial and professional presentation advice.
While the various works exhibited show diversity in medium, technique and subject matter, the underlying thread of ritual ties the works together. Each artist in their own way examines daily routines. Ludumo Maqabuka and Nkoali Nawa look to everyday society, Nkosinathi Quwe explores spiritual practice and Christo Basson examines the nature of art making itself. Through extensive observation these diverse tasks or practices almost take on the weight of sacred rituals.” says Tamlin Blake, Chief Curator.
The 2018 Creative Exchange artists were first introduced at Basha Uhuru Freedom Festival, where a selection of their work from the Nando’s art collection was exhibited at Constitution Hill during June 2018. The full Rituals exhibition will run at the AVA Gallery from 30 August until 26 September 2018.
About the artists
Nkosinathi Quwe is a painter who considers himself a visual messenger carrying the ancient story of the people – telling stories that have been told before, but from his perspective, bringing in new elements and layers, hoping to connect with his viewer. His work is socially aware, dealing with the complexities of identity, politics, class, race and black body politics.
Nkoali Nawa was initially a mineworker and is understandably passionate about the daily struggles that face impoverished South Africans. He depicts the harsh existence that mineworkers have to adapt to, as well as the plights of rural women whose husbands have relocated to the urban areas in search of work. Nawa portrays the daily tasks and responsibilities that fill the lives of these individuals – their daily tasks almost becoming sacred rituals. Everyday scenes are represented in a personal, intimate manner, revealing the artist’s deep understanding of the challenges facing these communities.
Ludumo Maqabuka feels modern society is highly defined by the influx of popular culture and the influence it has on new ideologies and personal identities. His work highlights its effects on township life and focuses on interpreting South African society with all its complex dynamics exposing the societal norms and the formation of constructed identities within a frame of popular culture. His portrait style is reminiscent of Pop Art, where vibrant solid colours are used to bring character to faces and create the overall mood of the work.
Christo Basson is a fine artist and illustrator, and the director of animation studio ‘Bewilder’.
Basson typically works in pencil, charcoal, paint and print, employing his illustration skills in a personal exploration of human forms and contemporary culture. Commissioned to complete a large scale, site specific artwork for Nando’s Kyalami in Johannesburg, Basson’s 32-panel artwork, which wraps around the top of the building, was inspired by the movement of Parkour – a type of urban sport where participants negotiate obstacles by running, jumping, climbing and free running.