INDEX is a new platform to give exposure to independent artists, who often have to create their own networks and methods for getting their work seen by audiences. This is often cultivated through fostering relationships with curators, organisers, and other artists, as well as building an online presence through websites, social media, and various platforms. This exhibition is a reflection of this spirit; it speaks to the importance of cultivating connections outside traditional models of exhibition making and creating space for galleries and audiences to discover new artists.
The exhibition is divided into three themes, each part of the broader special projects theme of co-emergence. Exploring the intersection of various cultural and aesthetic influences on the creation and interpretation of art from Africa. This can include the blending of traditional and contemporary art forms, the incorporation of elements from different ethnic and regional cultures within Africa, and the impact of global perspectives and influences on African art.
Meet the Artists
Cazlynne Peffer is a multi-disciplinary artist who was born in 1994 in Potchefstroom, South Africa. She holds a BA degree in Fine Arts from the University of Pretoria (2016), where she is currently completing her MA(FA) and lecturing.
Peffer has participated in numerous group exhibitions which include TEMPO (2016), Nirox Winter Sculpture Fair, SASOL New Signatures & Black Humour (2017), Spoke, Diewe en Digters & SASOL New Signatures (2018), Collective Memory- Documenta (2021), 7 Minute Stories- Octopus Programme & Textured Surface (2022).
The artist’s use of found objects in sculptural assemblages as well as in video works, explore confessional narratives derived from her lived experience of trauma such as, witnessing domestic violence as a child that led to the death of her parents in 2002 and mostly recently, rape at the doing of a friend in 2019.
Xhanti Zwelendaba is a multi-disciplinary artist working in a diverse range of mediums such as sculpting, print-making, installation, performance art and video art. Zwelendaba’s work deals primarily with the complexities and tensions surrounding Xhosa culture and the modern day culture of contemporary capitalism and nationalism - and embedded within these is the legacy of colonialism and apartheid. This pursuance is largely spurred on by having to balance in-between these cultural paradigms, often simultaneously.
Each of his works stand as a testimony for interrogating his identity and the collective identities of Black people living in South Africa. Through collaboration and usage of diverse materials, each idea is given the opportunity to present its nuances in a unique manner. By regularly contributing and participating in the development, processes and practices of his curiosities, Zwelendaba has overtly committed to pursuing an art practice within a decolonial paradigm, which is constantly pushing the boundaries and limits of art making from the African continent within the contemporary art sphere, which is still a largely western European dominated industry.
Born in Cape Town, South Africa, Alexandra-Naledi is an interdisciplinary artist, who explores the realms of art, sound and space. Her foundation was established in Fine Art at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, UCT, where she developed a love for ink and drawing, and a curiosity for the translation of intangible phenomena and the symbolic nature of sound. Her final year exhibition documents an exploration of sound and memory, made visual through ink paintings of sound recordings from her home in Cape Town, and spatialised through installation that evokes the intangible but felt experience of sonic transmission.
With the varying spatial qualities of sound, she explores the capabilities of music to evoke feeling through DJ-ing and making music with both rhythmic and atmospheric elements. This, along with her post-graduate studies in Landscape Architecture and Urban Design, deepen her passion for the sculpting of space through physical material and sound. Her inspiration lies in the communicative nature of sound and its ability to carry memory and shift our perceptions of physical matter. Whether through tangible tools or intangible communicators, she intends to invite opportunities for heightened awareness and sensitivity to listening.
Thokozani Mthiyane is a Johannesburg based artist who is a partner to a company called The Enso Circle. Mthiyane grew up in Cleremont Township near Durban, where after leaving school, he would pass time in the studios of artists Sfiso KaMkame and Thami Jali, watching them work. He has been largely influenced by his time spent under the tutelage of artists Sfiso KaMkame and Thami Jali.
Mthiyane has experience in children’s theatre with the Madcap’s Educational Theatre Company, after which he had his first solo exhibition at the Flat Gallery in Durban. Mthiyane is a multidisciplinary artist, who speaks with as much confidence about his work as an expressionist painter as he does about his time as a trilingual poet in France and as a dancer touring Holland with the Inzalo dance company.
He has exhibited at the Centre for humanities research, and has exhibited at African noise foundation. He developed his signature act of performing French poetry translated into Zulu in Cave Poésie in Toulouse, Southern France. He returned to France in 2001 and again in 2004 to perform the poems of Jacques Prévert in the small town of Heroville near Normandy.
Bulumko Mbete was born on a serendipitous Saturday in 1995. Mbete is a Joburg based artist and practitioner with multicultural heritage.
Mbete completed her BFA at the Michaelis School of Fine Art. She undertakes research in different forms of craft/design making and is interested in generational traditions and gestures of love. Her interests expand into methods of engaging with the archive and using the archive for creative storytelling.
Mbete explores the geographic connections, synchronicities in history and its effect on migration, labour, farming and love.
Warren Maroon (b.1985) lives and works as an artist in Cape Town, South Africa. Warren grew up on the Cape Flats in a suburb called Mitchell’s Plain, an area most commonly associated with gangsterism, drugs and violence. Being exposed to some harsh realities at an early
age he took to art as a way to escape.
In 2011 he graduated from Ruth Prowse with a Diploma in Fine Art, but it was only until 2018 that he found his voice as a sculptor. Warren, inspired by a somewhat Arte Povera aesthetic, creates work using mostly found objects to communicate aspects of his lived experience.
Francesco Mbele is a multimedia artist based in Johannesburg, South Africa that continuously defies any description as an artist, creative director, DJ, designer – model, photographer, culture archivist and so on – and in all these varying roles, Mbele has created a visual world that evolves in colour, texture and expression; while this aesthetic is abundant and rich, it also is very difficult to pin down – herein lies, then, its brilliance; Mbele’s world is digital yet organic, vivid yet simplistic – hyper-realistic, hyper-nostalgic and able to be dismantled at any moment he decides. In a few short years, Francesco has become one of the leading cultural and creative instigators in South Africa, from his contribution to youth platform Ebumnandini, to his work with Rich Mnisi, Thebe Magugu, - to installations like that one he did for Shelflife Joburg earlier in 2022 (and so much more) and then – Franasonic, the home that probably comes closest to a framework for Francesco to weave all these threads together. Franasonic’s digital portal is an ode to Windows ‘95; well, a version of this, distilled through Francesco’s untamable lens, one that captures Y2K nostalgia perfectly – that sense that was felt as the onset of the millennium brought humanity towards a totally new frontier of global, cultural and aesthetic exchange with the rise of the internet.
Francesco has shown at Fede Arthouse Cape Town (2022) ‘Exhibition’ Group Exhibition And BKhz Johannesburg (2022) ‘Prelude ‘Group Exhibition.
Jack Markovitz is a director and photographic artist based in Johannesburg. His work is built on a deep trust between him and his subjects, with an aim to create provocative and uncomfortable depictions of South Africa as he sees it.
His award-winning short films I'M NOT HERE, HIPHOPSTAR37, JEWFRO and DARK SILENCE ON SPORTS AVENUE as well his photo series BIRTH IS NICE, DEATH IS BETTER have screened and exhibited in North America, Africa, the Middle East and Europe
Thembinkosi Hlatshwayo (b. 1993) is a photographer based in Lawley, Johannesburg. He uses the shebeen run by his parents as a studio in which to investigate themes of first- hand and generational trauma, violence and memory. Hlatshwayo was mentored by the photographer Jabulani Dhlamini and photography curator and educator John Fleetwood. He won the 2019 CAP Prize for Contemporary African Photography with his series Slaghuis I and was one of the five winners of the New Cosmos of Photography prize with Slaghuis II, 2021.
His work has been featured in group exhibitions at Fotomuseum Winterthur, IAF Basel Festival, and Johannesburg’s Turbine Art Fair. Hlatshwayo was the Gisèle Wulfsohn Photography Mentorship Recipient for 2019. He held his first solo exhibition, Slaghuis II at the Market Photo Workshop in February 2020, and was an overall winner of the international Blurring the Lines photo award for 2020. His work will be featured at the upcoming Rencontres de Bamako and Addis Foto Fest in December 2022.
Mira Jaan is an emerging artist born in Pietermaritzburg, Kwazulu Natal and raised for the majority of her youth in Cape Town South Africa. Jaan was first introduced to the art world by her father Ashraf Jamal who remains a great inspiration for her. His affinity with bright colours which covered the walls of her childhood home, appreciation of art history and his own heritage has reflected itself in her work. Her primary medium is gouache paint on paper but she is transitioning into using more acrylic paints on canvas. Jaan is inspired by the art of the past specifically of ancient India and parts of East/South East Asia. Within her art her core concern is a blend of femininity and androgyny and how these factors can exist along side each other in one person. She often paints two figures mirroring each other but holding different characteristics in the same frame. For her no body is ever one thing, we are all split genetically, spiritually and emotionally into multiple manifestations of ourselves. She feels as though one can become frustrated with maintaining a singular identity, unable to embrace certain aspects of themselves as they might contradict the other. By portraying these dual manifestations in the same frame living alongside and supporting each other she hopes to create an acceptance within the viewer of all the different versions of themselves within them as well as an acceptance and love within herself. She believes it is only by accepting loving and forgiving these other body’s within us that we may accept love and forgive the people around us. In paintings that focus on the embrace, she dramatises this quest for closeness. It is not symmetry she seeks in their twin devision but the inescapable and necessary condition of love - to love.
Mira Jaan is currently a working Artist. She spends part of the week in studio and the other working part time in a gallery as a research assistant.
She has exhibited at three Emerging Artists exhibitions in the past as part of First Thursday’s, the exhibition “Pink Is Not Dead” curated by Jana Terblanche. An exhibition curated by Igsaan Martin, “Zaza” curated by Jozua Gerrard and the first Fede art house show curated by Lebo Kekana.
Samurai Farai is a young, vibrant and independent, contemporary artist from South Africa.
Moulded by the culture and dynamics of this complex space, he is not just an artist, but a curator, gallery founder and art-dealer too.
His work draws inspiration from the details of people in society, the
happenings and nuances between human dynamics as well as the conversation of what occurs beneath the surface of all of us as people: emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. Resulting in a compositional style that can be considered as “Psychological Portraiture” -
A large facet of his work surrounds mental health and the multiple versions of self that one human can possess. His art uses bright, bold and courageous colour and the use of line to communicate an almost optimistic and childlike hope.
Ketumile Meso (28) is a South African Artist whose interdisciplinary practice explores – Identity,Faith and Belonging in a South African context.
Originally hailing from a small village in the North West Province – Meso seeks to understand his heritage, and his surroundings through the mediums of: Collage, Sound, Video & mobile phone Photography.
Meso has been exploring Johannesburg's visual, sonic and cultural identity for the past eight years – with the site being his foundational point of inspiration.
In an effort to further understand himself and his place within the metropolis, Meso explores the black lived experience and visual language of the inner city.
Currently, Meso is interested in the themes of: Remembering, Music As Time Travel, & The African Influence on Western Spirituality.
Tzung-Hui Lauren Lee
Tzung-Hui Lauren Lee is a South African-Chinese artist.
Her installation-based practice is embedded in the ideas of poetics of space which are queried through the processes of paper-making, calligraphy, and sculpture and, is occupied with the translation of two-dimensional mark-making, such as writing, to three-dimensional space. Lee is deeply influenced by aspects of Chinese philosophy and culture, including traditional Chinese folk art, which she draws on to investigate ideas around diaspora, identity, and relationships between the past and the present.
She describes her practice as a “means to decolonise, rethink, and understand my identity and the spaces surrounding my body”.
Gaelen Pinnock (b.1980) is an artist based in Cape Town, South Africa. He uses various techniques to explore and document expressions of power and domesticity in the urban landscape. Originally an architect, his work has a strong conceptual connection to the built environment.
Pinnock’s work looks at modern developments and policies in a divided South Africa that are entrenching class separation in a landscape that is already shaped by the legacy of colonial rule, apartheid legislation and divisive spatial planning. He looks at ways in which landscapes impart power and he assembles various artefacts of division: security equipment, surveillance, construction material etc. He teases out patterns, sensations, feelings of exclusion and distils his findings into stark, rough works that are snapshots of a city and a society fraught with undercurrents of deficiency and violence.
Pinnock has participated in local and international group shows at various institutions including the Zeitz MOCAA, A4 Arts Foundation and the Rupert Museum.
Oratile Papi Konopi
Oratile Papi Konopi (b.1997) is a multi-disciplinary visual artist, curator, and exhibition maker from Johannesburg. His work explores the complexities of identity, gender, and sexuality, as well as language. With a focus on black masculinities, Konopi's art challenges stereotypes and highlights the nuances of this often-overlooked subject. His artistic body of work, Ênê, he invites people to think and talk about how gender relationships are created and mediated through language & culture.
Through his work, Konopi seeks to make sense of the complexities of identity, inviting the audience to engage in dialogue in understanding how complicated it can be to be yourself in place(s) that are diverse and in constant change.
Terence Maluleke (b. 1995, South Africa. Lives and works in Johannesburg) and is a Visual Developer and Fine Artist, who has worked with Walt Disney Animation Studios, Sony Pictures Animation, Netflix, and Triggerfish just to name a few. Terence is one of the founders of Kasi Sketchbook - a project that aims to create drawing clubs in the townships that will encourage young artists to daily “Draw Your World” in their
Kasi Sketchbooks. In 2018 he co-founded a Media Network “Tribal Universe”.
Within the Fine Art terrain, Maluleke oeuvre centres on the figurative as his primary inspiration through the celebration of his community. In more recent work he has focused on exploring still life by depicting the lilly.
Maluleke’s distinct stylistic approach subtly lingers between illustration and the painterly, his colour vibrancy, as well as his use of line and geometric shapes create a visual bridge between his work as a Visual Development Artist.
Further Reading In Articles
African Artist Directory