Curated by Carlyn Strydom
28 February – 20 March 2019
‘What is South Africa, even? Vol.2’, a group exhibition curated by Carlyn Strydom, recipient of the Bag Factory Artists’ Studios 2018 Curatorial Development Programme, features works by Jasmin Valcarcel, Thina Dube, Ronald Muchatuta, Vivien Kohler, Neo Gilder, Andrew Ntshabele and Simphiwe Buthelezi.
The exhibition is a long-term project which aims to reflect on our shared experiences as people living in South Africa. This second iteration of What is South Africa, even? continues to explore the notion of a country coming to terms with itself as a diverse and complex society. Not bound by national borders or nationality, the exhibition is an attempt to understand and imagine a country beyond the outdated and parochial definition of the term ‘nation’. Each selected artist brings personal insight to the theme, contributing to a wider conversation on the relevance of such a term given our myriad ‘origin stories’ (thinking historically).
As a country trying to recover from its violent history which extends beyond its borders, an interrogation of the past and its impact on our present-day lived realities is essential. How have structural inequalities shaped the country? How do our own histories and expectations living here reflect how we interact with the space that is South Africa? The diverse group of artists, who are South African and non-South African, explore themes of belonging, depression in black men, identity politics, isolation and migration using a range of artistic methods to produce a cohesive exhibition.