Artists

Siwa Mgoboza

Siwa Mgoboza explores notions of difference and belonging as informed by his personal experiences of prejudice and assimilation. Growing up abroad and subsequently returning to South Africa as a young man, Mgoboza was profoundly struck by the difference between his expectation of an egalitarian South Africa and the stark contrast of it’s reality. As response to this, Mgoboza has created Africadia – a means to transcend – if only momentarily – prejudice based on preconceived notions of gender, race, religion, class and nationality.

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Hybridity is at the core of the Africadian experiment and Mgoboza imagines a world where absolutes become fluid and open to debate. A utopic intermingling of notions of an un-spoilt Africa and Arcadia – as referenced in Greek mythology and the painting of Renaissance artist Nicolas Pousin, Africadia represents an alternative – a space where in Mgoboza’s words, “we stop talking about the ‘other ’ and start talking to one another.”

In creating the hybrid beings that populate the Africadian dimension, Mgoboza has drawn on his Hlubi heritage by incorporating the bright and densely patterned Ishweshwe cloth into his photographic, sculptural and textile work. Traditionally worn by women, Mgoboza references a motif that is immediately recognizable as “African” but on closer investigation, has truly global roots having arrived in Southern Africa from India via Dutch trade routes. It became widely embraced when introduced to Southern Africa by German settlers in the mid 1800s. Isishweshwe is a symbol embedded with the ethos of Africadia – of cultural interchanges across continents, of indigenization and cultural revitalization.

As visual device Mgoboza offers the viewer Isishweshwe as an accepted African signifier, but it is simultaneously reconstituted as a question that undermines its very Africaness. By subverting both geographical and gender specific assumptions, Mgoboza opens up alternative readings of what it is to be an African.

Solo exhibitions

 

2018 Stitched & Drawn, duo solo show, Matter Gallery, Toronto, Canada

 

2017 Once Upon A Time in Africadia, Matter Gallery, Toronto, Canada

 

2016 Africadia, Semaphore Gallery, Neuchatel, Switzerland
If Found Return to Africadia, WHATIFTHEWORLD Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa

 

2015 Africadia, Graduate exhibition Michaelis School of Fine Art, Cape Town, South Africa

 

 

Group exhibitions

 

2018 ICA Live Art Festival (performance festival), University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
Alternate Perspectives, First Canadian Place, Toronto, Canada
Turbine Art Fair, 50ty50ty Studios, Turbine Hall, Johannesburg, South Africa
Conversation in Gondwana, ISEA (International Symposium on Electronic Art, Durban, South Africa
Milan Design Week, First Cape, Milan, Italy
Under The Sun, First Canadian Place, Toronto, Cananda
AfricaAfrica, curated by Maria Pia Bernadoni, Palazzo Litta, Milan, Italy
Cape Town Art Fair February 2018, 50ty50ty Studios, CITCC, Cape Town, South Africa

 

2017 Salon Summer Show, AVA Gallery (Association for Visual Artists), Cape Town, South Africa
South African Fine Art Print Fair, Artist Proof Studio, Johannesburg, South Africa
Isishweshwe, VIAD (The Research Centre for Visual Identities in Art and Design), University of Johannesburg, South Africa
FNB Joburg Art Fair, 50ty50ty Studios, Johannesburg, South Africa
FNB Joburg Art Fair, AVA Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
FNB Joburg Art Fair, Artist Proof Studio, Johannesburg, South Africa
PhotoFocus, AVA Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
Turbine Art Fair, 50ty50ty Studios, Turbine Hall, Johannesburg, South Africa
Turbine Art Fair, Ebony Gallery, Turbine Hall, Johannesburg, South Africa
One Color At A Time, WAM (Wits Arts Museum), University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Young Now, Hazard Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
Dress Code, Gallery MOMO, Cape Town, South Africa
Anomalies, Semaphore Gallery, Neuchatel, Switzerland
Here Forward, Matter Gallery, Toronto, Canada
From The Horses Mouth, Ebony gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
Art Africa Fair, No Fairy Tail, curated by SalimataDiop, Jubilee Hall, Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town Art Fair, 50ty50ty Studios, CITCC, Cape Town, South Africa

 

2016 50ty/50ty Pop Exhibition, Commune1 Gallery,  Cape Town, South Africa
Women’s Work, Iziko National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
AKAA (Also Known As Africa), Performance with Nobukho Nqaba, ArtMeetsCamera, Paris, France
Nanjing International Arts Festival, Nanjing, China
Lagos Photo Festival, Lagos, Nigeria
Modern Africa / Rainbow Nation, NoLab pop-up exhibition, Istanbul, Turkey
WHATIFTHEWORLD Opening, WHATIFTHEWORLD Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
NANO, Barnard Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
Barlcay’sL’Atelier, top 100 finalist, Absa Towers, Johannesburg, South Africa
Turbine Art Fair, 50ty50ty Studios, Turbine Hall, Johannesburg, South Africa
Turbine Art Fair, Emerging Painters, curated by Tanya Poole, Turbine Hall, Johannesburg, South Africa
Nothing Personal, SMAC Gallery, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Being and Becoming, UNISA Art Gallery by Kauru Contemporary African Art Project, Pretoria, South Africa
PGH Photo Fair, Carnegie Museum of Fine Art, Pennsylvania, USA 
New Monuments, Commune1 Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
BarlcaysL’Atelier Western Cape Regional Finalist, Rust,en,Vrede Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
SA Taxi Awards, Lizamore and Associates, Johannesburg, South Africa
That Art Fair, Ebony Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town Art Fair, AVA Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
Back To The Future, Barnard Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa


2015 Rose Korber Show, AVA Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
But He Does Not Have Any Clothes On!, Commune1 Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
High/Fine/Not Art, Michaelis School of Fine Art, Cape Town, South Africa
Persistence of Memory, Untitled Studios, Cape Town, South Africa
FNB Joburg Art Fair, Gallery booth, Johannesburg, South Africa
Sasol New Signatures, Top 110 finalist Pretoria Art Museum, Pretoria, South Africa
Printmaking Residency, The AVA Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
Not From Here, Launch of First Thursday Jo’burg 70 Juta Street, Johannesburg, South Africa
Claims of The Land, AVA Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
Forming Impressions, AVA Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town Art Fair, AVA Gallery Cape Town, South Africa

 

 

Awards

 

2018 Under 35 Photography Prize, ArtVerona 2018, Verona, Italy
BNL Paribas Award 2018, Shortlisted for photography prize
Bayeza18, 10and5, 40 Creatives Under 30

 

2015 Eduard Louis Laden Art Bursary2015, Michaelis School of Fine Art
Michaelis Bursary, Michaelis School of Fine Art
Cecil Skotnes Award2015 for most promising artist, Michaelis School of Fine Art
Young + African Visual Artist of The Year, Nestling Awards

 

2012 Michaelis Bursary, Michaelis School of Fine Art

 

 

Collections

 

The University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
The University of South Africa Permanent Art Collection, South Africa
The Carnegie Museum, USA
The Stack Bar, Cape Town, South Africa
The Laurete International Universities Collection, USA
Wedge Curatorial Projects, Canada
Pick N Pay Art Collection, Souh Africa
BONHÔTE Foundation for Contemporary Art, Switzerland
WAM (Wits Arts Museum), South Africa

 

 

Assistance work

 

2016 Sewing Saw, Nicholas Hlobo, performance, Stevenson Gallery

 

2015 Miss Azania 2019, AthiPatra-Ruga, WHATIFTHEWORLD Gallery