Writing Art History Since 2002

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Raél Jero Salley, in association with the University of Cape Town’s Africa Month and hosted by Iziko Museums of South Africa and its Education and Public Programmes presents the contemporary art exhibition Promise.


Promise conveys the rich history and cultural heritage of Southern Africa. Salley presents a group of pictures that imagine everyday life—past and present—with a mixture of awe and excitement. Salley’s work explores ways of seeing, interpreting and understanding. Promise draws on historical archives and collections. The aim of the exhibition is to commemorate and celebrate Black experience while provoking dialog about the spiritual, material, intellectual, and emotional aspects of South Africa. Seeking to challenge inherited labels, Salley’s pictures offer moments in being and social belonging.

“Imagination is a key feature of everyday life; it shapes our visual culture and is indispensible to social and political activity,” comments Salley. Through a new series of paintings, he seeks to produce moments in which viewers may actively imagine and produce new visions.

Unlike other art events, this exhibition concept offers an urbane lifestyle experience. The opening event features live musical performance by Bokani Dyer of Dyertribe music—artists committed to promoting South African culture and innovation globally.

Raél Jero Salley is an artist, cultural theorist and art historian. He holds a BFA from The Rhode Island School of Design, a Masters in Fine Arts from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a PhD from The University of Chicago. Salley’s artwork, research and writing focuses on African and African Diasporic art, Blackness and visual culture. He is currently Senior Lecturer at the University of Cape Town’s Michaelis School of Fine Art. www.raelsalley.com

Iziko South African
National Gallery Annexe, St Johns Road, Cape Town
opens on Wednesday 22 May 18:30
and runs until 21 June. Gallery hours are
10:00 – 17:00, Monday to Friday.

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