Must See Exhibitions This May

Must See Exhibitions This May

Here are a selection of shows this May you shouldn’t miss.

Under – Song for a Cipher

May 3 to September 3, 2017

New Museum will present Under – Song for a Cipher by Ghanaian artist Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. This exhibition brings together a selection of works by the artist, a 2013 Turner Prize finalist and one of the most renowned painters of her generation.

Yiadom-Boakye’s lush oil paintings embrace many of the conventions of historical European portraiture, but expand on that tradition by engaging fictional subjects who often serve as protagonists of the artist’s short stories as well. These imagined figures are almost always black, an attribute she sees as both political and autobiographical, given her own West African heritage. Often immersed in indistinct, monochrome settings, Yiadom-Boakye’s elegant characters come to life through her bold brushwork, appearing both cavalier and nonchalant, quotidian and otherworldly. In part because they inhabit neutral spaces, her subjects’ idle, private moments provoke the imagination of viewers and remain open to a range of narratives, memories, and interpretations.

Dress Code

May 11 to June 10, 2017

Dress Code hosted by Gallery Momo, explores the use of costume in contemporary art. Getting dressed is an essential activity of everyday life. We dress to accommodate social and environmental factors while indicating meaningful messages by way of what we wear. This signifying language of dress reads through the adornment of costume, asserting the identity of the wearer through the performativity of the coded attire. As a result, costume becomes the indicating factor that instructs perceptions of class, gender, and culture, influencing the way we interact with each other even before we meet.

The exhibition features Ceil Ann, Lizette Chirrime, Rory Emmett, Francois Knoetze, Lesiba Mabitsela, Siwa Mgoboza, Sethembile Msezane and Mary Sibande, Ayana V. Jackson, Maurice Mbikayi and Lucy Robson.

Artists who work with the medium of costume seek to utilise, subvert, and critique its imposing character. As the nature of costume lends itself to performativity, many artists employ the medium of costume as a tool for social commentary. By linking what we wear to the complexities of representation and identity, Dress Code looks at ways in which costume becomes an evocative voice within contemporary art practice.

Give-and-Take, Push-and-Pull

May 4 to 27, 2017

SMAC Gallery is pleased to present Give-and-Take, Push-and-Pull by South African artist, Themba Shibase.

While Shibase’s concepts – rooted in the interrogation of current socio-political issues within a Pan-African context – are conceived over an extended period of time and are ongoing, the paintings included in Give-and-Take, Push-and-Pull were all produced during the course of this year. This body of work has provided the prolific painter an opportunity to reflect on the themes and ideas explored through the physicality of painting, subsequently wrestling with the idea of giving and taking as manifested in various ways.

Give-and-Take, Push-and-Pull thus exists as a metaphysical manifestation of the exchange between the application of oil paint to the canvas and its removal; the relationship between the processes of thinking and making; striking a balance between the technical and conceptual elements on which a painting is premised; the experience of painting from a spiritual versus a psychological point of view; working as an artist within a gallery space and managing the expectations that lie therein. These tangible concepts further propel the cyclical nature of the life-death dichotomy that Shibase’s brush illustrates in layers.

Arising African Perspectives

May 5 to 27, 2017

LKB/G will present Arising African Perspectives by South African artists Mxolisi Vusi Beauchamp and Io Makandal, and Ghanaian artist Gideon Appah. The gallery aims to establish a unique platform of exhibiting art from the Global South in Germany.

Mxolisi Vusi Beauchamp describes himself as being not only an artist but also a multimedia designer and art director. He creates artworks by means of painting, spray-painting and stencils to comment on social issues and on the politicians and events that make up the South African social landscape. These works are the artistic version of satirical journalism and social critique, often controversial.

Io Makandal meanders through materials and themes, intuiting objects in space, offsetting and pairing them with unexpected counterparts. She sets up a designated space, the objects can begin to jostle up against each other in a sort of struggle for power. Exploring an urban ecology, her work meditates and militates against the effects of urbanism on the environment and human psyche during the Anthropocene.

Gideon Appah’s works are the artistic version of satirical journalism and social critique, and is greatly influenced by imagery and marks of temporary structures, as well as informal signage of the socio-cultural and economic landscape of Accra’s urban spaces. A regular element in Appah’s works are numbers and signage which he derives from the lottery kiosks in Ghana. He expresses his ideas onto canvasses by a method of scratching through painted surfaces to reveal these marks whilst adding mixed media materials

South Facing

May 7 to July 30, 2017

Johannesburg Art Gallery is pleased to present South Facing by Mozambique artist Ângela Ferreira first solo exhibition at a public institution in South Africa.

The exhibition includes recent and previously unseen work, as well as a newly commissioned work by Ferreira that responds to the Gallery’s Meyer Pienaar extension. Built in 1989 during the final years of apartheid, the extension was intended to create a more accessible public threshold between the original neo-classical colonial-era building and the adjacent urban park. Inherent structural problems resulted in Jag’s temporary closure in 2017, providing an opportunity to re-examine the relationship between an institution once regarded as a symbol of elitism with its emergent multicultural post-apartheid urban context.

Ferreira’s work is concerned with the ongoing impact of colonialism and post-colonialism in the present, particularly in the Global South. Her primary area of investigation has been the translation of modernism in the African-colonial context, and the complex social, aesthetic and architectural legacies of the modernist project. Ferreira’s practice draws its visual criticality from her dual African Portuguese identity, and the resulting body of work is rooted in South Africa, Mozambique and Portugal. The Johannesburg exhibition connects these three spaces, and provides an opportunity for audiences to engage with the artist’s multi-disciplinary research-based practice.

Everything is Everything

May 18 to June 30, 2017

South African artist Jo Ractliffe will unveil Everything is Everything at the Stevenson Gallery. The exhibition comprises previously unpublished images spanning about 25 years and explores the idea of the photograph ‘without purpose’, unhinged from a specific project or body of work.

In the words of the artist: “Such a photograph might be one taken for no reason other than to expose the remaining frames in a roll of film after a photographic shoot, or to test the workings of a newly acquired camera. Or it might manifest itself spontaneously, by chance, while you’re on your way looking to something else. In this way, a photograph without purpose might be seen as one that occurs through happenstance, rather than intentionality. But a photograph without purpose might also be one that asserts its own reason d’être, refusing to comply with the narrative or conceptual intentions of the larger body of work.”

18th Modern Contemporary Art Sale

May 21 to 22, 2017

Ben Enwonwu, Flame, 1966, ebony wood, 133 cm, N12,000,000-15,000,000

Arthouse Contemporary will present the eighteenth edition of its auction of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Kia Showroom, Lagos. Arthouse Contemporary is an international auction house that specialises in modern and contemporary art from West Africa.

With auctions held twice a year in Lagos, Arthouse Contemporary aims to create awareness of the scope of contemporary art in the region, encourage international recognition towards its talented artists, and strengthen the economy of its art market. As contemporary African art moves to become one of the fastest growing global art markets, this edition of the auction will feature both master works from the modern period and cutting-edge contemporary art from the region’s most celebrated artists.

This edition of the auction will feature modern masters such as Ben Enwonwu, Erhabor Emokpae, Ben Osawe, Bruce Onobrakpeya, Abayomi Barber, David Dale, Twins Seven Seven, David Dale and Akinola Lasekan. Leading contemporary artists include El Anatsui, Peju Alatise, Victor Ehikhamenor, Ben Osaghae, Sokari Douglas Camp CBE, Kainebi Osahenye and Gerald Chukwuma. International artists featured in the auction include Soly Cisse, Tchif, Dominique Zimkpe, Nana Nyan Acquah, Kofi Agorsor and Ablade Glover.

Intertwined 2005 – 2017

May 24 to June 23, 2017

Johannes Stegman Art Gallery will unveil Intertwined 2005 – 2017, by South African visual artist Nomusa Makhubu. The exhibition is a survey of Makhubu’s practice as a lens-based artist.  Through the medium of photography she explores issues of identity and particularly the sensitive issue of representation/self-representation. She has worked mainly with portraiture, performance and space-time politics.

Makhubu has contributed her writing to Critical Arts (Violence and the Cultural Logics of Pain: Representations of Sexuality in the Work of Nicholas Hlobo and Zanele Muholi), African Arts (Politics of Strangeness: Re-visiting Pieter Hugo’s Nollywood), Journal of African Cultural Studies (Interpreting the fantastic: video-film as intervention), Third Text as well as book projects and catalogues (Spaces of Contention and Confrontation: The Geography of Truth in Zak Benjamin’s Paintings for the Zak Benjamin Retrospective).

It’s not Furniture

May 26 to June 9, 2017

The Temple Management Company will present It’s Not Furniture by John Madu, Olumuyiwa Logo, Fola David, Ken Nwadiogbu, Marcellina Oseghale Akpojotor and Jerkin Unah, bringing you an overview of some the finest works from the most promising, upcoming talent in Nigeria today.

This exhibition aims to put together a contemporary showcase for emerging artists demonstrating the influence of globalisation, through the uniqueness of various artistic expressions, with the background of Nigerian heritage. The collection cuts across hyper-surrealism, mixed media, painting and photography.

The Temple Arts Division is fully committed to revolutionising the synergy of the Nigerian creative industry. Recognising art’s undeniable power as a source of inspiration and invigoration, we develop projects that revitalise both physical and social landscapes. We create artistic experiences that catalyse cultural exchanges, connect communities, and engage the public’s imagination.







Adedoyin Emmanuella Sowemimo studied Finance at the University of Lagos, Nigeria and holds a diploma in Administration from the Chartered Institute of Administration (CIA). She is passionate about music, enjoys writing and is open to new experiences and ideas.

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