Identity, memory, and history come together in this curated exhibition within the Investec Cape Town Art Fair, titled Tomorrows/Today. This year marks the first time that the exhibition will incorporate artists from beyond the African continent. Of interest here is one of Australia’s most significant artists of Aboriginal descent, Jacqui Stockdale. Her humorous photographic portraits, imbued with mystery and the interrogation of history, will resonate with anyone who has followed the work of Zanele Muholi, Ayana V Jackson, and Kudzanai Chiurai. Stockdale will be at the booth of This is No Fantasy + Dianne Tanzer gallery of Melbourne.
4. THE BIG PICTURE
This year’s focus on women practitioners shows how paths are being forged in the telling of narratives, old and new. Created environments by three artists will allow visitors to experience installations outside the gallery booth context. Sethembile Msezane performed at Documenta14 on the Kassel and Athens platforms, Lungiswa Gqunta has a major installation at the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz Mocaa), and Turiya Magadlela won the FNB Art Prize in 2015.
5. NEW-LOOK PERFORMANCE
With the international focus on performance, this year the art fair celebrates the medium with an inventive, parade-like staging by the multidisciplinary Thania Petersen, represented by Everard Read Gallery. Petersen’s carnivalesque work has been staged in Cape Town, London, and South Korea. The work will incorporate about 20 performers of all ages and genders, and will feature sound and instruments. Its theme will reflect on the renowned Cape Town New Year parade.
6. WOMEN WITHOUT BORDERS
The title is taken from a group exhibition that featured the work of Ugandan Stacey Gillian Abe in Kinshasa in 2014. The category includes African women who have used performance in their work, not necessarily to transcend physical borders, but to overcome material and physical constraints and to integrate the spiritual into their practice. The erotic, mysticism, women’s work, and the culturally specific come together in the art of Abe (represented by Afriart Gallery), Nigerian-American Wura-Natasha Ogunji (in the Tomorrows/Today section and represented by 50 Golborne Gallery) and Maïmouna Guerresi of Senegal and Italy (represented by Officine dell’Immagine Contemporary Art Gallery).
7. ART OF THE BOOK
The art fair provides an opportunity to take stock of new literature about some of our pioneering talent. If you are not in the market for investor artworks, then literature about local art history is also collectible — and increases in value over time. Two recent titles written by women in academia spring to mind: Sandra Kloppers’ Are you Still Alive?, about the correspondence of Irma Stern, and a study of William Kentridge’s opera direction, Being Led by the Nose, by Jane Taylor. These will be available at the Clarke’s Books stand.