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The exhibition marks the start of an enthusiastic re-opening of the gallery after a 2-year closure, reaffirming Standard Bank’s longstanding commitment to supporting arts.

Bee Diamondhead. Courtesy of Standard bank Gallery.

The Standard Bank Gallery is proud to present the work of 13 dynamic young artists in a ground-breaking exhibition: ‘WE ARE CULTURE’. This kicks off the next chapter of Standard Bank’s arts calendar as the Standard Bank Gallery’s first in-person exhibition since the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, it is the gallery’s first ever multidisciplinary experience, featuring a select but comprehensive slate of exciting work from a new wave of young voices in fashion, music, sculpture, performance art and more.

In line with Standard Bank’s democratising approach to arts development (termed #ArtsSiphakathiInside). ‘WE ARE CULTURE’ is curated by Creative Director, Stylist & Editor Bee Diamondhead. Bee was an unquestionable choice of curator. Along with her selection of 13 electric talents, Bee is changing the way the world interacts with African creatives and their work. She shares Standard Bank’s future-focused view that access to all mediums of art and creativity should be barrierless, both for the interested who want to experience it, and the enterprising and talented who want to create it.

“’WE ARE CULTURE’ is not about tradition. It’s not about the gatekeepers, or the highbrow discourse. This show is about the artists, whose visions are so clear that giving them the resources and the platform helps us more than it helps them,” Bee Diamondhead says. “We are in uncertain times, and it is our role to seek out these voices – voices that illuminate things we haven’t fully realised about the world around us. Creativity fights the rigid ways of thinking that we adopt as a mechanism of survival.”

The clear, raw, fresh vision of the show’s selected artists – from headline-making fashion designer Fikile Sokhulu, to DJ, journalist & queer youth culture champion Lelo Meslani – creates a layered-yet-light-hearted experience. While the exhibition platforms the cultural interrogation of identity present in the work of many young artists today, it also highlights the insight, awareness and self-acceptance that these interrogations have already yielded. Gallery visitors should expect an essential portrayal of themselves from a new, joyful perspective, one that acknowledges where we are and points to where we are headed.

“Standard Bank is responsive to the evolution of the arts and continues to show its commitment to the arts, by continuing to be a platform of showcase for new artists and by offering support that has adapted to the landscape, vision and challenges of a new generation of creative talent. South Africa is home to an incredible, dynamic community of visual artists, fashion designers and contemporary musicians — talents who are, together, marking the creative world with their uniquely African sensibility. We are using this global cultural moment to tell our stories in real time, in whole truth, and in vibrant spirit. Says Dr Same Mdluli Standard Bank Gallery manager.

Standard Bank spent more than 30 years enabling the work of young, driven South African artists through it’s platforms, support, and development resources. This Heritage month, the bank invites the public to discover a progressive display of this initiative in an exhibition that epitomises it’s brand promise: “finding new ways to make dreams possible.

Featured artists
  • Kgotlelelo Sekiti (Performance Art)
  • Lelo Meslani (Music)
  • Leon John (Music)
  • ​Muyeni (Music)
  • Natalie Paneng (Multidisciplinary Artist)
  • ​Philisa Zibi (Jewellery Design)
  • Setlamorago Mashilo (Sculpture)
  • Khumo Morojele (Fashion Designer)
  • Fikile Sokhulu (Fashion Designer)
  • Lorraine Kalassa (Visual Artist)
  • Muofhe Manavhela (Multidisciplinary Artist)
  • Rebecca Moolman (Artist)
  • Wezile Harmans (Artist)

The exhibition will be on view from the 19th of September until the 8th of October 2022. For more information, please visit Standard Bank Arts.

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