Art News South Africa

What to expect from the 2020 RMB Turbine Art Fair

This year's RMB Turbine Art Fair (RMB TAF) will take place on an online platform from 28 August to 2 September 2020. The 2020 featured special projects will form part of the overall fair experience with over 50 galleries showing work within the viewing rooms on the RMB Turbine Art Fair online platform.
Each year we are delighted to bring the art-loving public a host of specially-curated projects from across South Africa under various banners and themes. These special projects allow guest curators to source unique and exciting work,” says Glynis Hyslop, founder of the RMB Turbine Art Fair.

New additions

A new addition to the fair, "Looking Forward", presents digital and new media art. The exhibition will showcase one of the best interactions between art and virtual technology, allowing audiences to experience the beauty in both. This collaborative project is built to engage a lot more than your eyes. It’s a real example of what happens when visionaries meet.

What to expect from the 2020 RMB Turbine Art Fair

“Looking Back” explores the uncanny relationship between the similar, yet very separate, lives of two of South Africa’s foremost artists, Gladys Mgudlandlu and Maggie Laubser, in a special Strauss & Co exhibition titled Parallel Visions”. The show focuses on the visionary nature of their work and the lives they led in parallel to each other in the segregated South African society of the time. The phenomenal legacy of these two artists is indisputable: Laubser’s work has been the subject of many academic studies and boasts the only comprehensive catalogue raisonné that has been published on the work of a South African artist. Mgudlandlu’s work is especially important as she was the pioneer black female artist in the mainstream art world, and she serves as continuous creative inspiration for others.

Gladys Mgudlandlu
Gladys Mgudlandlu

RMB Talent Unlocked

RMB Talent Unlocked, now in its sixth year, is an artist mentorship programme accompanied by an exhibition at the RMB Turbine Art Fair. This year’s programme consists of professional practice workshops and a mentorship programme run by independent art advisor and curator Londi Modiko. Work from Lebohang Mabusela, Zanele Mashini, Katlego Modiri, Manyatsa Monyamane, Octavia Roodt, Vanessa Tembane, Noah Onah and Rick Baloyi will be showcased. 

Says RMB chief marketing officer Alison Badenhorst: “Through RMB Talent Unlocked, an artist career development programme, now in partnership with the Visual Arts Network of South Africa. Apart from artist development, our support is aimed at audience growth and artist exposure – two key elements of the creative economy. Now in its sixth year, RMB Talent Unlocked ensures a gratifying experience for art enthusiasts and young, emerging talent.”

Thania Petersen
Thania Petersen

“First Look” will highlight selected works from postgraduate university students in fine and visual art across South Africa.

“New World Order”, curated by Johan Thom, will showcase a variety of aesthetic strategies implicit in the artistic practice of a new generation of educator-artists. In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the world itself seems to be on the brink of global change. Though much of the focus has been on the economic, social and political changes that await us all once the dust settles, the question of what role art will play, and how, also requires careful consideration by artists. Johan's curatorial perspective will focus on artist-educators who will guide the new generation of artists that will live and practice in a post-Covid world.

Tshepiso Seleke
Tshepiso Seleke

Tactile Visions-Woven”, curated by Prof Sharlene Khan, another new addition to the fair, presents a curated selection of tactile-based works in an expanded conversation with the notion of ‘materiality’ and ‘tactility’. Contemporary artists engage these in performance, installation, photography, painting, dance, printmaking and sculpture, as they respond to the precarious conditions of the world in which they find themselves - as individuals and as members of society. The exhibition also aims to show, through the porosity of the categories of ‘fine arts’/ ‘crafts’/ ‘women’s art’/ ‘popular culture’ that these are not – and simply never were – tenable in the fluidity that are our African lives.

“Stilled Life” - a community photographic platform - was launched to give South Africans a place to share their Covid-19 stories. A place where anyone could send in their photos – not just professionals. People with both a view and a captured moment of what they were seeing and feeling during this abnormal time in their lives.

Participants were given the following three categories in which to enter their photographs and story:

  • #YourStory – view/personal experience of life in the times of Covid
  • #NewNormal - Sometimes we surprise ourselves on the human race’s ability to adapt, adjust and accommodate
  • #HelpingHands - Times like this are challenging and bring out the best and the worst in us. However, the stories of generosity of spirit and deep humanity are completely inspiring.

The top 100 images will be selected by a panel of judges that includes Savannah Feeke, Musa Nxumalo and Greg Marinovich. The images will be auctioned by Strauss & Co in its September online auction with all proceeds to going to the Basa Artists Relief Fund. The Top 100 images will be on view throughout the RMB Turbine Art Fair.

For the full lineup visit

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