Fresh from its debut at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown earlier this month, the exhibition Lefa La Ntate of multi-media artist Mohau Modisakeng opened last night at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum.
As the winner of the Standard Bank Young Artist for Visual Arts 2016 award, Modisakeng was asked to create an exhibition for this year’s NAF and came up with a personal yet political commentary on his own black identity and place in South African history.
Lefa La Ntate – Setswana for “My father’s inheritance” – is a visual interpretation of the cost of labour and in particular how black men have spent their lives.
“I am interested in the black body in my work, the black male body especially has given so much to the economy,” he said in an interview earlier this month, referring not only to the past but also to the present industrial landscape, strike action and service delivery protests.
NMMU Department of Arts, Culture and Heritage head Michael Barry was due to open the multi- media exhibition last night.
It includes a centre-piece of a long table with incisions referencing the circular markings on a R100 bank note, making a subtle comment on capital, labour and the extraction of mineral wealth.
A series of short black-and-white films continue the theme of a black man’s body being mined both literally and figuratively. A performance element, staged at NAF, will also be screened.
The exhibition will then travel to other cities, ending in Potchefstroom in August next year.
Gallery hours are 9am to 5pm on weekdays, except Tuesday mornings and public holidays.
More information available from NMMAM, (041) 506-2000.