Southern Guild will exhibit at Expo Chicago for the first time this April, presenting ceramics, sculpture, paintings and wall reliefs by leading artists from across the African continent. These include Zanele Muholi (South Africa), Zizipho Poswa (South Africa), Andile Dyalvane (South Africa), Oluseye (Nigeria/Canada), Kamyar Bineshtarigh (Iran/South Africa), Patrick Bongoy (DRC), Dominique Zinkpè (Benin) and Stanislaw Trzebinski (Kenya). Rich in materiality and divergent in form, the works in Southern Guild’s presentation speak of the ingenuity of the human hand and the labour-intensive processes that elevate the prosaic to the sublime.
A highlight of the gallery’s booth will be a large bronze self-portrait by acclaimed artist and visual activist Zanele Muholi, whose solo exhibition opens at Southern Guild’s Cape Town gallery in May 2023. The sculpture represents the artist’s departure from an exclusively photographic oeuvre into a broader, multidisciplinary practice. The booth will also feature two large-scale ceramic and bronze sculptures from Zizipho Poswa’s critically acclaimed recent solo, uBuhle boKhokho, inspired by the hairstyles traditionally worn by Black women across the continent, as well as recent works by Andile Dyalvane, Madoda Fani and Chuma Maweni – all regarded as foremost ceramicists in Africa.
Anchoring the booth will be an expansive and tactile palimpsest by Iranian artist Kamyar Bineshtarigh effaced from the wall of his studio building – a layering of marks, traces and textures accumulated over two years. Central to the artist’s visual lexicon is the explorative use of Farsi script and calligraphy that pivots around memory and place, revealing the intricacies of transliteration. Southern Guild’s booth will also include new paintings by Cape Town-based artist Manyaku Mashilo that draw inspiration from historical photographic archives to build self-determined mythological scenes where imagined embodiments of Blackness migrate through abstract liminal spaces. In addition, the gallery will present bronze and hand-blown glass sculptures from Kenyan artist Stanislaw Trzebinski’s 2022 solo, Solastalgia, that imagine the potent and surreal future of a decimated Earth after the extinction of humans.
The gallery’s booth will feature new assemblage-sculpture by Oluseye, a Toronto-based artist born in London and brought up in Lagos. Part of his ongoing Eminado series, these works trace and record the movement of the Black diaspora. The talisman-like objects are constructed from debris gathered on the streets of socio-politically significant ‘Black cities’ around the world, combined with rubber, cowry shells, metal bolts and synthetic hair. His work finds echoes with the intricately woven tapestries of Bongoy, whose use of recycled rubber recalls the Belgian colonial-era (and ongoing) brutalisation of the Black body as human capital. Bongoy’s studio operates like a factory in reverse, transforming stockpiles of the industrial material into various states of textile-like plasticity through manual intervention.
In addition to the booth in the main section of the fair, Southern Guild will present a fabric collage work by Jeanne Gaigher in the IN/SITU programme, which features large-scale sculpture and site-specific works installed throughout the hall. Gaigher’s monumental piece, Dimensions of a Dialogue II, was selected for IN/SITU by Claudia Segura, curator of exhibitions and collections at Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) in Spain. Made in early 2022 in response to her mediated experience of a spate of natural disasters, the work overwhelms the viewer in scale to mimic the vastness of our uncontrollable environment. Gaigher’s textural works are made through the interlayered use of paint on canvas and semi-transparent scrim. She is intrigued by how natural disasters choreograph the human body in unusual, mournful ways.
Canvas, bookbinders mull, thread, ink, acrylic, watercolour
300 x 500 cm
Canvas, bookbinders mull, thread, ink, acrylic, watercolour, natural dye
189 x 256 cm