21 October – 5 November, 2017
An Exhibition presented by Full Circle Art Africa
Precious Cargo references a play about Khoisan woman Saartjie Baartman - who was bought under colonisation and exhibited as a “freak” around Europe. With this history as its departure point, the exhibition dismantles the objectification of “African” artists. Precious Cargo explores new narratives where both viewer and artists are confronted with their own insecurities and ignorances.
About the Artists
Born in South Africa to parents of Indian ancestry, and currently based in Johannesburg, Dinika Govender’s work is situated at the intersection of diasporic identity, cultural amorphisms and architectures of power. Working with words and images to capture the subtext of lived experiences, Govender’s work spans poetry, storytelling and visual art.
As the elder daughter of an anti-Apartheid activist turned educator father and an independent feminist mother who made her way in academia and the corporate world, Govender’s lens on the world has been duo-toned from the start. She is sensitive to class struggles faced by people of colour in a globalised marketplace, and is also privy to the mechanising of such systems. Her academic and early professional background in the fields of commerce, strategy and innovation afforded her greater insight into, and experience, in these mechanisms.
Propelled to understand the history and politics of culture and self-love in order to carve a personal space for critical imagination to thrive, Govender finds herself drawn to words and mixed media.
Her images making up the series and poetry performance entitled The Fifth Screen comprise mixed media in a lo-fi, high-contrast yet muted format. These evoke the sense of being muted and moved in the presence of power. Her visual meditations on urban spaces and architecture are, in some ways, odes to the aesthetic value and divisive power of the built environment - a duality.
Together with her poetry, Govender seeks to add more ways of seeing and remembering - ways that do not rely on linguistic architectures of colonialism. It is a project she describes as, “something we are only small parts of - each adding our truths to build a richer, truer tapestry of life - so that our great great grandchildren might feel less invisible.”
Nathaniel Sheppard III
Nathaniel Sheppard was born in Washington D.C. to an American father and South African mother. It was at the Southern California Institute of Architecture where he began to enter into the conversation and ideologies surrounding the architect or artist in relation to spaces around them and the people within those spaces.
Sheppard lived and studied in the United States until 2010, when he chose to move to Johannesburg, South Africa, to continue his studies. Pivoting away from architecture, he studied Fine Arts at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. Through his studies he came to realize the important socio-political position the practice of art had - particularly within discourse about South Africa's access to spaces and opportunities within a post-Apartheid society.
Labour - a term that is heavily loaded and historically turbulent in the context of South Africa’s formation – is a theme central to Sheppard’s art practice. Beyond the direct reference to the labour involved in the artist’s creation process, it is the presence of a labour of love and a love for labour.
Having previously been locked into the medium of painting, Sheppard turned to printmaking. Along with a growing group of printmakers and artists, Sheppard endeavours to challenge exclusionary traditions that are deeply rooted within the South African apartheid movement.
Chad Marco Cordeiro
Chad Cordeiro works predominantly in linocut and other print media, but also aims to push the medium of print across painting, sculpture and installation too. Born in Edenvale, Johannesburg, he earned his Bachelor of the Arts in Fine Art at the University of the Witwatersrand in 2015. He is a co-founder, printer, and artist at Danger Gevaar Ingozi studio and also works as a collaborative and editioning printer at David Krut Projects. Cordeiro is currently part of a collaborative practice with fellow co-founder of DGI, Nathaniel Sheppard, in which they explore power dynamics of the art world as experienced by the “artist” and “technician”. Core to their collaborative practice is also a concern with the historical and cultural conditioning of Africa, institutional critique, class dynamics and how these speak through the variety of methods and mediums they work through.
Allyssa Staci Herman
South African fine art student Allyssa Herman’s work focuses primarily on domestic spaces and issues of sexuality as experienced by South African Coloured women. She draws on the feminine aspects
of domesticity within her own household, drawing out and commenting on the broader system of working class politics derived from that discourse.
Born into a post-Apartheid South Africa in 1995, Herman’s practice extends into the reimagining of familiar spaces and their disruption through the use of elements of the female body that are “meant to be” private; according to social norms imposed on us.
Through printmaking and installations she references and interrogates the conversations women have in their immediate communities – in “domestic spaces” women are socialized into occupying - such as the kitchen.
Allyssa Herman is currently a part of an 11 womxn collective that goes by the name “Pussy on a Plinth”, which was formed in the Wits school of Arts during her 3rd year of studies. The collective’s work addresses issues of black womxnhood, power politics, mental health, the treatment of the female body, de-colonial language practices, and the politics of queerness – among other pressing social justice issues.
Sbongiseni Sbanisezwe Khulu is a founding member and artist of Danger Gevaar Ingozi Studio. His work embodies a depth of introspection and honesty within the controlled precision of an artist with the utmost attention to detail.
His journey as a young artist offers a mere glimpse into the history behind his process. Hailing from the township of Esikhawini in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, on the east coast of South Africa, Khulu matriculated from a technical high school and furthered his studies under the scaffolding of a Civil Engineering degree. Dissatisfied with engineering, Khulu pivoted towards a Fine and Applied Arts degree at the Tshwane University of Technology. There he majored in sculpture and printmaking.
Khulu’s career, to date, has been intentional - and his steady stream of opportunities evidence this. In his third year Khulu was chosen to be amongst the 2012 PPC Young Concrete Sculptors Awards finalists. This led to his appointment as co-student assistant of the sculpture studio in his fourth year. He began working in as a printmaker at the David Krut Workshop in the same year when he met Chad Cordeiro and Nathaniel Sheppard III and his journey with DGI began.
More information about Full Circle Art Africa.