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The Melrose Gallery, in association with Sandton City, is pleased to present ‘INTROSPECTION – Art of Contemporary Africa’, a thought-provoking group exhibition featuring established and emerging artists from the continent of Africa.

Gerald Chukwuma, Untitled, 2020. Mixed media on wood.

Definition: Introspection is the examination of one’s own conscious thoughts and feelings. In psychology, the process of introspection relies on the observation of one’s mental state, while in a spiritual context it may refer to the examination of one’s soul.

In an ambitious undertaking, whilst most art fairs and large exhibitions have been postponed or replaced by online presentations due to the impact of Covid-19, The Melrose Gallery in association with Sandton City, have decided to revive the physical exhibition, while also showcasing it online.

The exhibition will be on display at Sandton City’s Diamond Walk and will run from 4 December until 30 January 2021. The space provides the perfect backdrop for a comprehensive display of Pan African Contemporary art and the high ceilings allow for monumental sculptures and large-scale paintings and photographs.

Whilst every care will be taken to adhere to Covid-19 guidelines, the space is so large that it will allow people to browse and experience the works whilst practising physical distancing. The pandemic has forced mankind to slow down and to spend time on ‘Introspection’ and the re-evaluation of what is most important to us.

Papytsho Mafolo, Ange, 2020. Mixed media on canvas, 200 x 200cm.

Many artists have been forced into long periods of self-isolation in their studios, which has resulted in powerful artworks impacted by their focus, mood and awakened sense of consciousness and enlightenment. The general public and collectors alike have gone through similar periods of confinement and adjustment and it is expected that this exhibition will bring a welcome respite to what has been a marked reduction in cultural activations.

The title of the exhibition ‘Introspection’ therefore speaks to this extraordinary period, but also to the idea that whilst an artist may be born in Africa, they are part of the global community and whilst their works may often involve a process of internal reflection, their presentation and practice often do not confine to a preconceived idea of ‘African-ness’.

Certain artworks that were not created during this period have therefore also found themselves onto the exhibition as their works and practice speak to ‘introspection’ and question the idea that all art created by Africans should have a unifying element that immediately identifies it them such.

Elizabeth Balcomb, The Other, 2017. Bronze, 195 x 200 x 145cm. Edition: 1/8

Participating Artists:

The exhibition includes Willie Bester, Gerald Chukwuma, Esther Mahlangu, Wilma Cruise, Pitika Ntuli, Elizabeth Balcomb, Philiswa Lila, Mederic Turay, Papytsho Mafolo, Edozie Anedu, Vusi Khumalo, Clint Strydom, Judy Woodborne, Alexis Peskine, Aza Mansongi, Ronald Muchatuta, Adejoke Tugbiyele, Restone Maambo, Gavin Rain, Ndabuko Ntuli, Denis Mubiru, Regi Bardavid, Christiaan Diedericks, Vusi Beauchamp, Regi Bardavid, Hussein Salim, Paul Blomkamp, Andre Stead, Mark Chapman, Kevin Brand, Grace Da Costa, Paul du Toit, Louis Chanu, Arno Morland, Carl Roberts, Uwe Pfaff, Sfiso Ka-Mkame, Mbongeni Buthelezi and others.

Sandton City:

Sandton City is renowned amongst both local and international visitors as one of Africa’s leading retail destinations. It is home to over 300 of the most exciting local and international retailers and presents a world of luxury in the exclusive Diamond Walk.

Sandton City is owned by Liberty Group, Liberty Two Degrees, Pareto Limited. It plays an integral role in the social fabric of community place-making, serving the needs of its shoppers and tenants while cultivating vibrant and diverse environments.

The centre supports arts and culture-related industries as an important complement to community development. Aligning to Interactive Spaces, the Liberty Two Degrees strategic building block that places customer experience at the heart, supports local initiatives and creates electrifying environments within the mall, the INTROSPECTION  Art of Contemporary Africa exhibition is an opportunity to bring an appreciation of the arts, providing an intrinsic value to communities.

The Melrose Gallery:

Dubbed ‘The Gallery of the People’, The Melrose Gallery is a leading Pan African Contemporary space located in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Passionate about African culture and traditions, the gallery has become a home in which artists, collectors and the public gather as a community to present and celebrate their stories, lives and creative practices in contemporary ways.

Their spaces are dynamic, constantly adapting and challenging preconceived ideas and limitations to creative practice and encouraging lively discourse around issues of pertinence to Pan African art.

They represent iconic artists of the likes of Dr Esther Mahlangu, Dr Willie Bester, Mam Noria Mabasa and Pitika Ntuli and an exciting group of young guards from the Continent of Africa.

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