10 artists interrupt tradition at Galerie Noko

New Nelson Mandela Bay art exhibition pushes perceptions

Galerie Noko in Russell Road, Port Elizabeth
Galerie Noko in Russell Road, Port Elizabeth

Ten artists have accepted the challenge to recontextualise traditional perceptions and notions in an art exhibition that opened at Galerie Noko, Russell Road, on Tuesday April 30.

The interdisciplinary exhibition – titled Interrupting Tradition – Perceptions, Notions and Convictions – features artworks that stem from all objects-based media.

Galerie Noko owner and exhibition curator Usen Obot said the exhibition was a platform for artists to freely express their interpretations of certain objects or subjects.

“We believe art should do more than just be there to beautify a space but we should use what we do as a platform to engage society and allow people to see things from a different perspective,” Obot said.

Each of the artists submitted between two and six artworks for the exhibition.

The artists’ expressions cover a range of subjects, from mental health to their interpretation of the city and the township.

Usen Obot at Galerie Noko's new exhibition
Usen Obot at Galerie Noko's new exhibition
Image: Brian Witbooi

There was no limitation for what kind of work artists could submit and that was the point of it: for them to take the title and engage or interpret it in their own way in the contemporary world.

“Presently artists engage more on social issues that affect humanity, from climate change and politics to mental health, whereas if you look at art history there were a lot more landscapes and portraiture than where the focus is now,” Obot said.

Brunn Kramer’s works titled Introspection explore mental health, and are a continuation from his previous research and practical work on prison culture.

“My previous work explored social issues in relation to ex-prisoners, highlighting issues outside of my worldview and drawing inspiration from them to inform my creativity,” Kramer said.

His current work stems from a more personal experience from when he was diagnosed with depression in 2018.

“These works explore prison as a metaphor for depression. I may not be bound by chains and locks, and high rising walls, but depression proved to be my prison causing me to alienate myself from friends and family, inflicting self-harm, feeling worthless and useless. Depression is my prison,” he said.

In highlighting the correlation between Introspection and the exhibition theme, Kramer said he responded to the theme by “stopping the progress on social critique and looking within, discontinuing traditional mediums like watercolour or oil paint, and subverting it with pastel and charcoal.

Through his work, he said, he re-envisioned himself by interrupting his past to make sense of the present.

“Therefore, through this work, depression shall not define me. I shall define it.”

The other participating artists are Daniel Mooy, Banele Njadayi, Phumla Matolo, Mathias Chirombo, Tanisha Bhana, Ludwe Mgolombane, Mziwoxolo Makalima, Arlette Franks and Hiten Bawa.

Interrupting Tradition – Perceptions, Notions and Convictions will run until May 30.

Galerie Noko is open from 10am to 6pm on weekdays and 10am to 4pm on Saturdays.

  • Inquiries: Usen Obot, 073-088-5883, 041-582-2090 or galerienoko@gmail.com

 

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