Co-owned by visual artist and businessman George Mulaudzi 132 Art Gallery, 11 Alice Lane, Sandton, showscases contemporary art from South Africa.
By Edward Tsumele
When the novel coronavirus struck and most economies of the world came to a stand still as countries went under lockdown, our social, economic and spiritual lives were affected badly, in South Africa and globally.
However many good things inadvertently also came out of that situation of panic, confusion despair and uncertainty, for example the use of technology to communicate with each other as well as doing business.
One sector that creatively and usefully used this period of lockdown is the visual art sector as artists in introspection, came up with good works during this lockdown as they tapped deep into their inner selves to look at themselves and certainly their surrounds, bringing certain energies that all along were inactive in their creative inner spaces. Many contemporary visual artists during this time, were able to look at the world differently as they brought new realities that we never knew existed before into the fore, in the process forcing society to relook at itself and its role in the universe.
One such artist who found himself among many artists in South Africa looking contemplatively and meditatively within themselves for the space, the motivation and the capacity to create works informed by this situation of isolation and precarious existence, is visual artist George Mulaudzi.
Mulaudzi, who all along had been concentrating on running his business in the health sector, and did not have much time to work on his art, his passion for many years, suddenly had all the time in the world, and the energy to work on his craft in the solitude of his home that he shares with his two children, eight year old boy Katlego and a six year old girl Mankgodi, as well as his partner, Tumi Tshikalaha, a fourth year law student at UNISA. Mulaudzi and Tshikalaha are the co-owners of 132 Art Gallery.
“In fact George worked so hard that the house was suddenly packed with beautiful art that we did not know what to do with it. We even thought to sell the art online at some stage,” says Tshikalaha.
The process of creating art works during the lockdown, and looking for a market for it, is what eventually resulted in the establishment of a new gallery , 132 Art Gallery, situated right in the heart of Africa’s financial nerve centre, Sandton City. The gallery is a stone’s throw away from some of the biggest financial institutions and other corporate offices in Sandton, such as the Johannesburg Securities Exchange, Old Mutual, Nelson Mandela Square, Sandton City and law firm Webber Wentzel The gallery could not have been situated at a more suitable place where the art market is, especially because 132 is positioning itself in the market as a gallery that is aiming at dealing top, high quality contemporary art with investment value, aimed at high net worth professionals.
Situated at 11 Alice Lane in Sandton, 132 Art Gallery named after the address of Malaudzi’s other business, a Men’s Health clinic on Fox Street, in central Johannesburg, it promises to be a game changer when it comes to exhibiting quality contemporary art in South Africa., and going by the names of the artists that are exhibiting at the official opening of this gallery,132 Art Gallery seems to mean business when it comes to content.
The group exhibition running from December 15 to January 15, title The End is the Beginning is brimming with artistic talent to collect from, suiting all kinds of pockets and tastes, whether one is a beginner collector or an established collector wanting to add to their collection, there is everything for everyone.
Curated by visual artist Happy Dhlame who is also exhibiting his works, and curator Fulufhelo Mobadi, this inaugural group exhibition, consists of a body of work by meticulously hand-picked artists from around Johannesburg, from promising but not as yet known artists, emerging artists, to those well established on the contemporary art market here in South Africa and globally.
This curation is clearly meant to introduce new talent that will soon be visible on the South African contemporary art scene, but at the same time, offering the market the opportunity to collect art from well established contemporary artists in South Africa, who are widely collected by individuals, institutions and corporate her and overseas.
Some of the artists have also enjoyed prestigious commissions by coporates. For example, one of the participating artists, Mbongeni Buthelezi’s commissioned art pieces adorn the walls of two nearby iconic buildings. A two-story-high floor-to-ceiling mural by Mbongeni Buthelezi runs the full length of the lobby, of the nearby Leornado, the tallest building in Africa, “painted” in melted recycled plastic, a medium the artists is well known. Another impressive commissioned gigantic art piece created for the DaVinci Hotel at nearby Nelson Mandela Square has earned Mbongeni critical acclaim.
“If there is something that came out of the lockdown, and which is good, is when artists, because we often work in isolation anyway, got down to work during lockdown, producing work of high quality. Some of these works that were produced during lockdown by the participating artists, are available for collecting at this exhibition.
“Fulufhelo and I decided from the time that we started working on this exhibition, that we were going to put together good content, and it is the kind of content that is going to define the character of this gallery going forward. We have deliberately selected as wide an array of participating artists as possible, from highly talented and yet unknown, to emerging and established artists. The point is, we wanted to be as inclusive as possible so that collectors have a wide option of talent to choose from, instead of having only a few established artists,” Dhlame told CITYLIFE/ARTS in an interview.
He added that as curators they chose the title The End is the Beginning for a good reason.
“The country and the world in 2020 underwent traumatic experience because of Covid-19, and there is no doubt about that. However, the future looks bright, and we are looking forward to a better 2021. And so this exhibition marks the break from the dark 2020 to a bright 2021,” reasons Dhlame.
In alphabetical order the following are participating artists in this exhibition The Beginning is the End: Andrew Tshabangu, Asanda Kupa, Andile Komanis, Ayanda Mabulu, Dathini Mzayiya, Elizaveta Rukavishnikova, George Mulaudzi, Happy Dhlame, Mbongeni Buthlezi, Musa Xokelelo, Mncedi Madolo, Nompumelelo Ngoma, Olivier Company, Phumulani Ntuli, Sandile Radebe, and Tsakane Maubane.
.The End is the Beginning is currently on at 132 Art Gallery, 11 Alice Lane, Sandhurst, Sandton, till January 15, 2021. 079 600 9522/082 969 0781. https://132art.com/