FNB Art Prize Winner for 2022 Dada Khanyisa’s solo exhibition to open at Johannesburg Art Gallery this Saturday

By Edward Tsumele, CITYLIFE/ARTS Editor

The artist triumphed last year and now this is their time to shine and show the art market what they have been creating ever since. It therefore makes sense why art lovers will flock to view what has been created by this artist this Saturday at the Johannesburg Art gallery –and yes the gallery is still there, though not much  has been heard about its activities throughout this year, with the exception of the sad news of its neglect by the City Fathers who seem to be always busy with something else. That however does not include preserving art heritage and its infrastructure, such as the inner city based gallery.

Dada Khanyisa

Hopefully with Dada Khanyisa showcasing what they have been working on, and we are quite sure there is anticipation among art lovers, this place will once more become alive, for that is what art does to a place, even a neglected one such as the ironically much accessible Johannesburg Art Gallery, simply known as JAG among art lovers.

Let us now leave the politics of JAG, and its current uncertain status and place in the country’s ironically vibrant contemporary art scene, and focus on the artist enjoying the spotlight this year ahead of the forthcoming FNB Art J’oburg art fair 2023. Dada Khanyisa, who is the recipient of the 2022 FNB Art Prize, presents an exhibition titled Cape Town at the Johannesburg Art Gallery. It opens on the 26th of August 2023 at 13:00 and closes in February 2024.

Currently living in Cape Town, Khanyisa spent their formative years in Johannesburg, visiting institutions such as JAG for inspiration. This sense of ‘homecoming’ is reflected in the exhibition’s meditation on nostalgia, as well as the relationship between place and self-authorship. They return to the City of Gold with an exhibition focused on their experiences since leaving Gauteng. Cape Town acts as a semi-autobiographical notebook of spaces and moments that have shaped them in the Mother City, some of which no longer exist.

Khanyisa states:

Cape Town – reflecting on my decade in this coastal metropolis. I visited the city 11 years ago; the appeal was undeniable. I explored my way into the fine art program at UCT and through this, I could zoom in on this beautiful city and its thick history. I have encountered many people, textures, sunsets, rain proof jackets, open relationships, 2 Rand requests, wood and strong community. There have been plenty of life altering and character shifting moments, most of which have been necessary. Through this body of work, I will unpack my experience.

One of the most coveted visual art prizes on the African continent, the FNB Art Prize has demonstrated how the fair has not only continued to celebrate talent but actively practice patronage. 

With this prize, Dada Khanyisa joins artists, Wycliffe Mundopa, Lady Skollie, Bronwyn Katz, Haroon Gunn-Salie, Peju Alatise, Nolan Oswald Dennis, Turiya Magadlela, Portia Zvavahera, and Kudzanai Chiurai among others. 

FNB Art Joburg Managing Director, Mandla Sibeko notes : 

When you look back at the calibre of artists who have won this prize, they do bring a lot of inspiration to all of us. They have used such interesting materials to interrogate important issues. Dada Khanyisa is no different because they have contributed so much to the contemporary art landscape of South Africa not only in theme but the form and style of their work.

Cape Town opens on Saturday 26th August 2023 and runs until February 2024. There will be a number of walkabouts and activations throughout the run of the show. 

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