Johannesburg-based gallery Guns & Rain is participating in 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, 14-17th October 2021. Gallery founder Julie Taylor says that “We’re thrilled to be returning to 1-54 London for the third year in a row but, most importantly, excited about the opportunity to share and see both art and people in the flesh! Much as we love the online world, nothing beats the tactile and visceral experience of art in real life.” Recently celebrating its seventh birthday, the gallery works with emerging artists from seven African countries, mostly southern African, and is known for its leaning towards social and political themes.
The gallery will present the work of three artists, Thina Dube (South Africa), Tuli Mekondjo (Namibia) and Ann Gollifer (Botswana/Guyana/UK). Gollifer is a first-timer at 1-54, whilst Dube and Mekondjo have previously exhibited, with Mekondjo making her debut as the first-ever Namibian female artist to exhibit in the history of the fair in 2019.
Self-taught artist Tuli Mekondjo works with mixed media (embroidery, collage, paint, resin and mahangu grain – a Namibian food staple), extending these textured media into performance, and vice versa. The mixed-media artworks in Tuli Mekondjo’s latest series juxtapose black and white photographic images with embroidered anatomical forms against a patchwork of soiled fabric. The photographs show stereotypical scenes of posed natives, circular huts, and whitewashed mission buildings and were originally printed on postcards from German South West Africa (1884-1915), what is now Namibia. Today, these and other colonial-era images and artifacts— not to mention terms like natives and huts—elicit conflicting responses.
Thina Dube explores identity politics in South Africa, referencing identity’s fluid qualities and many layers, both visible and hidden. He explores kinship, nostalgia and intimacy. Incorporating aspects of his biography with the fantastical elements of other stories, Thina Dube’s charged prints and figurative paintings, the filter for interpreting his lived experience, often have a recurring motif of the ubiquitous doily, revealing the undercurrent of intimacy and tenderness with which he navigates identity politics.
More information about visiting the fair can be found at http://1-54.com/london/. Guns & Rain will be on the ground floor in booth W6. For those unable to attend physically, 1-54 Online this year is powered by Christie’s.