Walls and all: What’s up in the art galleries this week

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Walls and all: What’s up in the art galleries this week

Fight those sinking feelings

Staff reporter

SINKING: Xa Sinqamla Unxubo by Lhola AmiraAbout the sinking of the SS Mendi on February 21 1917, which became one of South Africa's worst tragedies of World War 1 (1914-1918). A total of 616 South Africans, including 607 black troops serving in the South African Native Labour Contingent, died when the steamship sank in the English Channel on the way to France. Amira creates a harrowing contemplative encounter in a constellation of film, photography, abstract painting, and sculpture.“I noticed that a wound can repeat itself over and over again which is why I asked myself what needs to happen to curb the agony?”  Amira proposes that we “sink”, that we go to the source of the wound, that we peel off layers of skin, history, time, and (in)difference, so that we can heal properly. – Tigere Mavura for SMAC Gallery, Cape Town. On from Wednesday until April 28.
THE HUMAN ABSTRACT: Deborah PoyntonThis body of work is titled after a poem by William Blake from his Songs of Experience, published in 1794. Poynton writes: “In this poem Blake says that each virtue requires its opposite to exist at all, and thus that truth is a kind of self-deceit; goodness requires evil to be seen as good, and human love thrives on control and selfishness. Moral order requires moral disorder to have any meaning. Born out of our own fear of what we can’t explain, this system of certainties blinds us to nature, to the divine. Our very nature makes us unnatural. We are eternally caught in this dilemma.
“Society thunders on in a mad, self-destructive fury of things, sounds, poisons, excesses, hurts and outrages, spouting certainties from all sides. Nature is ravaged while we water our pot plants and cook supper, try to bring up our children well, and seek out small reassurances.“There is an absence of certainty in these paintings; they don’t lay claim to relevance. Passages lead to and from nowhere in particular, and yet everything is particular. I can only offer those small reassurances that I crave for myself: light at the end of the tunnel, nostalgia for the idea of an image, funny moments, an attachment to place and stuff.”  
The Human Abstract runs at the Stevenson Gallery, Johannesburg until May 14.
THE NEW NEW: Mrs + Mr LukeFaatimah Mohamed-Luke and Al Luke are a wife-and-husband team who make objects and print works that shift the focal points of contemporary African art from character-based portraits exploring identity, to situationist-like explorations of the individual in relation to time and place. 
About the show, Al Luke says: “My intention is to create and expose a new African style which challenges the definitive global views and opinions of art on the continent. My hope is that this style will expand and transcend into various design disciples.”
Working in a multidisciplinary vein, the two have forged combined, yet separate, practices that include pop elements, abstraction, product design and enhancement, as well as social comment. 
The show includes an exhibition of masks by Furio Tedeschi. On at Daville Baillie Gallery, Victoria Yards, Lorentzville, Johannesburg, from April 7-28.

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