PE's Galerie Noko holds double exhibition
Painter Khehla Chepape Makgato and ceramic artist Ludwe Mgolombane reflect life’s complexities
Humanity, womanhood and their complexities are taking centre stage on the walls of Galerie Noko in Central until Saturday December 8.
As you enter the gallery on the corner of Russell Road and Moffat Street, Johannesburg-based artist Khehla Chepape Makgato’s paintings of women welcome you.
Then Port Elizabeth-based Ludwe Mgolombane’s ceramics grab your attention as you make your way up the stairs leading into a second exhibition space
In a first for the gallery, the artists ceremonially launched their solo exhibitions on the evening of November 15.
Gallery director Usen Obot said: “We believe that showing both exhibitions at the same time exposes both artists to a wider audience because [Mgolombane’s] audience will be introduced to Makgato’s audience and [vice versa].
“The two artists are distinguished in their own rights and both address concerns we deal with every day as a community,” Obot said.
SA mixed media artist Makgato was raised by his grandmother Maropeng in the Makotopong village, near Polokwane, and his works are partly influenced by observations and lessons learnt from the period of his life spent surrounded by women in a women-led household.
His exhibition – Basadi Ba Tshankgetje: Women Fashionably Adorned – speaks to and acknowledges the achievements and contributions of African women in SA and the world.
The artists mixes oils, fabric, acrylics and sometimes paper to portray narratives of women’s resilient nature and ability to overcome turmoil in society.
“When you are raised by women you acquire great respect for their leadership, and you learn humility, love, affection and some of the most important qualities of life,” Makgato said.
“Most of my life was influenced by my grandmother, my elder sister and my aunts.”
Makgato holds a diploma in fine arts (majoring in print making) from Artist Proof Studio and a diploma in media practices (majoring in journalism) from Boston Media House.
The artist, writer and philanthropist was the recipient of the 2018 Zygote Press International artist residency in Cleveland in the US, 2016 winner of ImpACT Award for Visual Arts from Art & Culture Trust SA, 2016 Mapungubwe Visual Artist of the Year and is chief patron of the Khehla Chepape Makgato Youth Library in Limpopo.
Upstairs, Mgolombane’s meta-infused ceramic sculptures mark his first solo exhibition. The artist, whose name has appeared in collaborations with various Bay artists, explores the many ways to interpret everyday city life.
The series of works, titled The Scramble Continues, is his portrayal of the different narratives of people living in the city.
Having lived in Central for 17 years, Mgolombane has closely observed this city’s continuous “scramble” to make a living.
However, this series was prompted in 2011 by a university project he had done.
“While exploring the concept of urban, social and moral decay, I found they all sum to one thing – the scramble to attain wealth, even if it means enslaving ourselves,” Mgolombane said.
The title of the exhibition suggests movement – a tricky narrative for a ceramist whose works stand still – but Mgolombane also uses symbolism such as the cow, which represents the chase for wealth.
Before getting a grant from the department of arts and culture for The Scramble Continues, the Nelson Mandela University art school graduate and 2012 national Absa L'Atelier art competition finalist had struggled to fund his first solo show.
“It’s not easy to put on a solo exhibition, especially with the medium I use,” he said.
The exhibitions will be on show until December 8 and the gallery hours are 10am to 6pm on weekdays and 10am to 4pm on Saturdays.
Inquiries: Usen Obot, 073-0885883, 041-582-2090, firstname.lastname@example.org