Amongst the exhibiting artists at this year’s FNB JoburgArtFair, set to take place between the 9th – 11th September 2016, is this year’s FNB Art Prize winner, Nolan Oswald Dennis. Comprised of Zimbabwean curator and director of the Zimbabwean National Gallery in Harare, Raphael Chikukwa, FNB JoburgArtFair curator Lucy MacGarry, and Angolan architect and curator Paula Nascimento, this year’s jury were given the opportunity to select one nominated artist from each of the participating galleries’ stands. Represented by the Goodman Gallery, Dennis joins a prestigious list of winners since the launch of the FNB Art Prize in 2011, and will be showcasing his work in a dedicated space at the FNB JoburgArtFair.
Though Dennis was born and raised in Zambia, he is currently based in Johannesburg. His practice comprises works in drawing, painting and installation, and is concerned with themes of the constantly fluctuating conditions of place, time, and history. He produces elaborately contoured and delicate line drawings that can be thought of as maps or symbolic cartography.
In our contemporary experience, which is defined by an urgent re-emergence of anti-colonial and anti-apartheid discourses, Dennis designs his images as instances of looking at specific objects, infrastructures and texts that facilitate our being in this contemporary world. His works become symbolic explorations of new ways of mapping the emergent critical moment, its potential and collapses. Further, his drawings often re-examine political technologies of memory and forgetting that are mobilised in the making of collective identities in South Africa and the broader continent. Dennis is also a member of the Johannesburg-based art collective NTU, producing works that often function as a response to commercial, cultural, and technological super-hybridity as a feature of the way life is lived in contemporary South Africa and beyond.
The FNB Art Prize has become one of the conveted visual art prizes on the African continent. Aside from the dedicated space, the winning artist will also receive a cash prize, and will no doubt benefit heavily from the subsequent media interest and coverage of the fair, helping to catapult the artist and his work to the centre of contemporary art discourse.