Whilst most art fairs and large exhibitions have been postponed or replaced by online presentations due to the impact of Covid-19, The Melrose Gallery in association with Sandton City, have revived the physical exhibition, while also showcasing it online.
The exhibition is on display at Sandton City’s Diamond Walk and has been extended. The space provides the perfect backdrop for a comprehensive display of pan-African contemporary art and the high ceilings allow for monumental sculptures and large-scale paintings and photographs.
Whilst every care is taken to adhere to Covid-19 guidelines, the space is so large that it allows people to browse and experience the works whilst practising physical distancing. The pandemic has forced mankind to slow down and to spend time on ‘introspection’ and the re-evaluation of what is most important to us.
Many artists have been forced into long periods of self-isolation in their studios, which has resulted in powerful artworks impacted by their focus, mood and awakened sense of consciousness and enlightenment. The general public and collectors alike have gone through similar periods of confinement and adjustment and this exhibition brings a welcome respite to what has been a marked reduction in cultural activations.
The title of the exhibition, Introspection, therefore speaks to this extraordinary period, but also to the idea that whilst an artist may be born in Africa, they are part of the global community and whilst their works may often involve a process of internal reflection, their presentation and practice often do not confine to a preconceived idea of ‘African-ness’.
Certain artworks that were not created during this period have therefore also found themselves into the exhibition as their works and practice speak to ‘introspection’ and question the idea that all art created by Africans should have a unifying element that immediately identifies them as such.
The exhibition includes Willie Bester, Gerald Chukwuma, Esther Mahlangu, Wilma Cruise, Pitika Ntuli, Elizabeth Balcomb, Philiswa Lila, Mederic Turay, Papytsho Mafolo, Edozie Anedu, Vusi Khumalo, Clint Strydom, Judy Woodborne, Alexis Peskine, Aza Mansongi, Ronald Muchatuta, Adejoke Tugbiyele, Restone Maambo, Gavin Rain, Ndabuko Ntuli, Denis Mubiru, Regi Bardavid, Christiaan Diedericks, Vusi Beauchamp, Regi Bardavid, Hussein Salim, Paul Blomkamp, Andre Stead, Mark Chapman, Kevin Brand, Grace Da Costa, Paul du Toit, Louis Chanu, Arno Morland, Carl Roberts, Uwe Pfaff, Sfiso Ka-Mkame, Mbongeni Buthelezi and others.
The extended exhibition is now on till the 30 January 2021 at Sandton City’s Diamond Walk in Johannesburg and accessible online via themelrosegallery.com