Special projects to look out for at RMB Latitudes 2024

15 May 2024
Coming soon to the wonderland that is Shepstone Gardens, RMB Latitudes champions artists from Africa and the diaspora from Fri, May 24 – Sun, May 26. Book your tickets for the fair here.

We are excited to see this fair, now in its second year in Joburg. A different kind of art fair, Joburg's annual RMB Latitudes may be set in a particularly lush venue, but it's aiming to be more inclusive than most. Emerging and independent artists share space with the art world's elite in a real art playground at the historic Shepstone Gardens, where you can wander around the sprawling, three-acre property to discover the variety of works on show. In addition to a great turnout of local and international galleries, this year's fair promises a line-up of special projects that are varied in focus and scope. Here, we outline a few that have particularly piqued our interest.


Having been through the 2023 RMB CuratorLab programme, Denzo Nyathi brings independent artists into the fold for this year's iteration of INDEX. It's a welcome change to the traditional art fair formula, where a gallery must represent artists. Instead, this exhibition platforms independent artists from across the African continent and the global diaspora.

Recent Wits graduate Ntsako Nkuna joins a cohort of emerging artists for The Orchid and The Wasp: Thin Lines of Becoming. Photo: RMB Latitudes. 

In curating the exhibition, entitled The Orchid and The Wasp: Thin Lines of Becoming, Nyathi asks, "What does it mean for independent artists – who might occupy the margins of the commercial art sector – to occupy space in the beating heart of a commercial art event like a fair?" This line of questioning extends to contemplate the complexities of where we belong in our communities, broader society, and the world at large.

Conceptual fine artist Chuma Adam and printmaker Nathaniel Sheppard approach the question through the lens of racial identity, while multimedia artists Thero Makepe and Ayanfe Olarinde consider their personal histories and how they resonate with contemporary life. Both utilising textiles in their work, ​​​Sahlah Davids and Lorraine Kalassa begin their explorations from a more intimate, family-oriented point of view. In the materiality of the work of Chloe Shain and Ntsako Nkuna, socially entrenched paradoxes of belonging and division are brought to the fore. A group of young South African artists of South Asian ancestry, Kutti Collective's work thinks through being in collectivity.

Nathaniel Sheppard
Nathaniel Sheppard is part of the INDEX group exhibition of independent artists, curated by Denzo Nyathi. Photo: RMB Latitudes. 

Not only is this a chance to see an exhibit from an emerging curator thinking through his own practice, but it also brings together a diverse and interesting cohort of independent artists whose work speaks directly to our times. 


Tucked away in the ancient Magaliesberg mountains, artist couple Wendy Vincent and Geoffrey Armstrong have spent more than three decades transforming their 37-hectare property into the ultimate work of art. Their home, itself a container for art, opens out onto a whimsical rock garden, with indigenous plant life punctuated with Armstrong's signature sculptural forms.

One of Geoffrey Armstrong's monumental sculptures stands sentinel. Photo: Elsa Young for a feature on the couple's home in House & Leisure.

Bringing a distillation of this mountainside magic to RMB Latitudes this year, the special project ESSAY is a rare presentation of works created by Vincent and Armstrong over the past 25 years. Prints and paintings by Vincent will be shown alongside sculptures in wood by Armstrong, offering a portal into the vital, living chaos these artists inhabit, rather than a place of sanctuary.

Whether sculpted from wood or choreographed with rocks, stones, wood, and concrete, Armstrong's works reveal the hidden forms and flows of our interconnected universe. So too the undercurrent of natural life is a feature of Vincent's works, which invite us away from the rational into a more alchemical frame of mind. "It's a feeling about nature," Vincent says. 

Wendy Vincent's panting of a Karoo landscape showcases her loving rapport with the natural world. Photo: RMB Latitudes. 

In lieu of visiting this artist pair's astounding Magaliesberg property, we are looking forward to a dispatch from their mysterious, infinitely intriguing world. "Armstrong and Vincent are indeed stewards of the earth", comments Lucy McGarry, director and co-founder of Latitudes. "An innate rapport with the natural world is the heartbeat of these works."


The 2024 edition of RMB Latitudes features a strong sculptural component, making generous use of Shepstone Gardens as a unique indoor-outdoor backdrop to the fair. "In choosing to foreground sculpture, the fair is acknowledging what is patent and obvious in the everyday experience of art in South Africa. Sculpture is thriving. Resolutely. Visibly. Differently," writes Sean O'Toole in the lead-up to this year's offering.
In the work Our Last Stone, Abdus Salaam's sculptures prompt quiet reflection. Photo: RMB Latitudes. 

One highlight is a solo presentation of Adbus Salaam's meditative body of work, created by the self-taught artist during his recent residency with Nirox Foundation. A major player in this space, Everard Read Gallery rallies nearly a dozen artists for an outdoor sculpture garden at the fair including Nandipha MntamboBrett Murray, and Atang Tshikare. Curator Stephanie Le Roy says, "Shepstone Gardens provides a wonderful, almost other-worldly backdrop that seamlessly integrates art with nature, showcasing how sculpture can really shine outdoors."

If you spot any public seating at the fair that looks out-of-the-ordinary, chances are it's FEDE Arthouse director and curator Lebo Kekana's collaboration with Tanisha Neill of furniture design studio NISH. These modular, inter-joining pieces continue Kekana's years-long, playful experimentation with form. Shown first at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2023, architect Kate Otten's sculptural installation now comes to RMB Latitudes. Entitled threads, the hanging disc is an impressionistic map of the Vredefort Dome – the earth's oldest known meteor crater – rendered in mohair. A visual exploration of Johannesburg's history that is most unusual.
Intricate weaving and beadwork hang in suspension in Kate Otten's curious map of the Vredefort Dome. Photo: RMB Latitudes. 

RMB Latitudes promises a dynamic array of sculptural works across mediums; a storehouse of surprises for visitors wandering the fair's labyrinthian grounds.


We've written about Mary Sibande and Lawrence Lemaoana's ongoing, process-centric art project Occupying the Gallery. At the outset, the premise was to take up residence in an otherwise single-purpose gallery space and transform it into an active and open working environment that showcases both the end result of artistic process and the process itself. It's been fascinating to watch this initiative unfold, especially as it's expanded to occupying other kinds of spaces as well. 

For its latest iteration, Occupying the Gallery invited artists from Artist Proof Studio's stable to make a home with the French Institute of South Africa (IFAS) in Braamfontein. Seven practitioners joined Sibande and Lemaoana for the month-long residence on the first floor of the building: Mosa Anita Kaiser, Hoek Swaratlhe, Londiwe Mtshali, Sphatho Mzantsi, Bongani Ndlovu, Tatenda Magaisa, and Mlondi Magubane.
Mosa Anita Kaiser joins a cohort from Artist Proof Studio for a new iteration of Occupying the Gallery. Photo: RMB Latitudes.

The artworks and prints created during the IFAS occupancy will be showcased at RMB Latidudes across both Occupying the Gallery and Artist Proof Studio's booths. "The collaboration serves as a powerful example of how integrating artistic processes with cultural insights enriches the creative landscape," writes Artist Proof Studio. It's rare for artists to open up their studio practice to the general public in this way, and we're curious to see how working in such a novel environment might show up in their output at the fair. 

RMB Latitudes takes over the magnificent Shepstone Gardens in the old Joburg suburb of Mountain View from Fri, May 24 – Sun, May 26. Book your tickets here.

While tickets for both events are sold separately, a shuttle travels between RMB Latitudes and Contra.Joburg – South Africa's biggest open studios event – on Sat, May 25 and Sun, May 26. It's going to be an art weekend for the books. 



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