Repatriated works by black South African artists in 'Resilience and Reflection' at the Apartheid Museum

Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun 09:00 – 17:00, Closed Mon, Tue.       Cnr Northern Parkway and Gold Reef Rd, Ormonde (Gold Reef City)
In the group show Resilience and Reflection, the Apartheid Museum exhibits highlights from the Ifa Lethu Foundation's phenomenal collection of more than 500 works. Created by black South African artists like Dumile Feni, Winston Saoli, and David Mothabeng Phoshoko, these pieces have been repatriated from 16 countries and provide a record of life in the townships during the dark days of apartheid. 

Resilience and Reflection comes together in collaboration with the Australian High Commission, who were instrumental in opening their diplomatic buildings to exhibitions of township art during the 1970s and '80s. An unfortunate byproduct of this meant that much of South Africa's township art was purchased by visitors and diplomats and subsequently left the country. For Minister Zweledinga Pallo Jordan, "This was not an act of plunder on the part of Australian and other diplomats, but an act of altruism in the purest sense". 
Building Unity and Justice by David Mothabeng Phoshoko. Photo: Supplied.

The Ifa Lethu Foundation was born in 2005 and demonstrates the value of heritage in building a strong democracy. The Foundation's director Dr Narissa Ramdhani says, "During the apartheid era, these artists were unrecognised and remained unsung to the extent that even museums in this country refused to acknowledge their work. Cultural heritage was employed as a weapon by all sides during apartheid – as a weapon of oppression by the state and as a weapon of resistance by the freedom movements. The Foundation has seized the opportunity to employ cultural heritage once more as a weapon, but this time to inform and empower all South Africans." 

This landmark exhibition sheds light on the hidden history of black artists who were relatively unknown during the apartheid era, but were creating works of astonishing beauty and power. "The repatriation of these artworks by the Ifa Lethu Foundation has meant that these artists and their visions can enter into our national conversation," says the show's curator Carol Brown. Contemporary young artists have been invited to show their work alongside their forebears that reflect on the state of our society 30 years after South Africa's first democratic elections. "Their work speaks to the work of their precursors – and when they hang beside each other it is possible to see both the connections between these generations, and also the paths not taken: the possibilities denied to us by our ignorance of these older artists," says Brown.

A timely showcase as the country's next general elections draw ever nearer on Wed, May 29, 2024. 



Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun 09:00 – 17:00, Closed Mon, Tue. Apr 9 2024 - Jul 31 2024
Apartheid Museum
Cnr Northern Parkway and Gold Reef Rd, Ormonde (Gold Reef City)
Put our app in your pocket
This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Find out more here. AGREE