EXHIBITION: Natural Habitat, an exhibition at 16 on Lerotholi in Langa, in partnership with Everard Read, 12 February to 12 March 2023
As the Who’s Who of the African art world descends on Cape Town for the Investec Art Fair, Everard Read Cape Town‘s recently announced partnership with 16 on Lerotholi in Langa, Cape Town’s oldest township, will surely attract more than a little bit of attention.
A look through the exhibition catalogue reveals some sensational and contextually very relevant work.
Also, Call Off The Search couldn’t help noticing that Nandipha Mntambo is included in a rather glittering list of artists contributing to the inaugural collaboration, which also includes Blessing Ngobeni, Daniel ‘Kgomo’ Morolong, Ignatius Mokone, Boemo Diale, Phillemon Hlungwani, Setlamorago Mashilo, Speelman Mahlangu and Vusi Khumalo.
16 on Lerotholi director and co-owner Mpilo Ngcukana explains that his vision for the gallery is to redefine the African Dream by empowering African artists with a platform that is invested in their artistic development.
Langa, the oldest township in the Western Cape, is celebrating a century since it was established. Everard Read describes 16 on Lerotholi as “contributing to this dynamic 21st century hub, which spins on its own axis as it interacts with the rest of the city on its own terms”.
Adjoining a coffee shop and restaurant, the gallery’s involvement with the established community garden next door shows promise in integrating local produce into the farm-to-table economy, adding another layer to their already ambitious vision.
Everard Read has embarked on an exchange of skills, ideas and artworks, committing to four collaborative exhibitions over the course of this year, ‘Natural Habitat’ being the first.
Ngcukana has curated ‘Natural Habitat’, which is described as “serving to explore the theme of life as African people, as well as the land and spaces we occupy”.
“Through the individual lens of each artist, the artworks in the exhibition draw inspiration from surroundings that are familiar to the artists, such as Langa.”
Langa is. of course, as natural a habitat as any to view contemporary expressions of African life. Travelling to Langa and viewing the work there will probably add a layer of raw excitement, maybe even a little anxiety, for suburbanites (like us) who seldom, if ever, visit the townships.
It will surely add texture and, hopefully, even a layer of understanding for the viewer.
Everard Read notes that the creative process of each of the artworks is deeply rooted in its geography and, in some instances, locations similar to Langa.
The ambitious and exciting project will hopefully narrow the gap between African art and the spaces and contexts that inspire and inform it.
Township artists have been bravely bringing their work to the city for as long as we can remember; hopefully many of us will be brave enough to go see it at home this time around.
Respect to Everard Read and 16 on Lerotholi for building this bridge.
Go see it! Please use the comment box to let us what you think.