Johannesburg

To see in Joburg – weekly exhibitions guide

19 Jun 2024

Discover our picks of Joburg's must-see exhibitions this week, and a few dates to diarise.

Saturdays sorted. For the love of zines and indie publishing, join a walkabout of the unusual showcase at the Jack Ginsberg Centre for the Book Arts on Sat, Jun 22. And, for those who missed the chance to tour August House as part of Contra.Joburg this year, enjoy a walkabout of two fascinating exhibitions and a canapé lunch in the City Centre on Sat, Jun 29. Book your tickets here.

Bambo Sibiya's bold vision comes to Everard Read's Circa Gallery with his first solo on home soil in seven years, celebrating cultural pride and empowerment. "Art is not only about resistance and challenging politics – it’s also about discovery, self-expression, and love," he tells us. Read our #MyJoburg interview with the Springs-born artist here

We loved our guided tour of Joburg Contemporary Art Foundation's (JCAF) annual exhibition, Ecospheres – a thoughtful curatorial project about the natural world and our place in it. ​​​​Even more far out, a survey exhibition at the Wits Art Museum (WAM) is a chance to see Karel Nel's work over four decades of artistic practice. It's an inquiry into human consciousness and the immensity of our universe.

For a full guide to what’s on in Joburg, explore our events calendar. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter published every Thursday morning. For extra daily updates, follow our Instagram page.

Art highlights

Sat, Jun 22 from 11:30 – 12:30 – Join David Paton for a walkabout of lo-fi street cred: artist zines, DIY and alternative publications at Wits Art Museum's (WAM) Jack Ginsberg Centre for the Book Arts. The exhibition contains an interesting collection of zines and self-published works that you wouldn't ordinarily encounter in a museum setting, highlighting the vibrant history and evolution of these unique forms of expression across five decades.
 
A window into the world of alternative art publications in South Africa at WAM. Photo: Jack Ginsberg Centre for the Book Arts.

Opening Sat, Jun 22 from 12:00 – Imaginaria at Workshop17 Firestation presents new perspectives on contemporary printmaking with Christiaan Diedericks and Judy Woodborne, a pair of artists each known for their unconventional approach. Woodborne combines printmaking with papercutting and unusual media for three-dimensional works that break the tradition of repetition, while Diedericks also plays with new media in printmaking by exploring digital tools and forms of creation. 

Sat, Jun 29 from 12:30 – 15:30 – Head to August House for a special walkabout of two solo shows by Nene Mahlangu and Lindo Zwane respectively, followed by a winter harvest table lunch. Mahlangu's spellbinding exhibition Where do I go when I want home? is about the artist's journey of self-discovery. Zwane's series Insizi Ye Bhodwe focuses on the women who are the backbone of Kwa Mai Mai, also known as the healer's market in the city. Book your tickets for the event here
 
See powerful work by Nene Mahlangu with an artist-led walkabout at August House. Photo: August House. 

Until Thu, Jun 27 – Bambo Sibiya's work is opulent and dynamic, described as "a visual rebellion that balances chaos and order". In his solo exhibition Ngemva Kokuqubuka (After Precarity) at Everard Read's Circa Gallery, the artist envisions a world restored, foregrounding agency and self-expression in relation to the black South African experience. Read our #MyJoburg interview with Sibiya about his evolving practice and embracing all aspects of life in the city

Until Sat, Aug 3 – Close and Far at Wits Art Museum (WAM) is a survey exhibition of Karel Nel's work across four decades. A fascinating deep dive into the artist's life-long engagement with the role of thought and consciousness in our interpretation of the world, and the universe at large. The earliest works from the 1980s are Nel's mind's eye drawings that map mental states, while an inquiry into the ideas, insights, images, and raw data that astronomers use inform some of his most recent work.
 
Karel Nel's universal contemplations in Close and Far at Wits Art Museum. Photo: WAM. 

Until Sat, Dec 7 – Ecospheres brings work by a fascinating cohort of artists into dialogue for the Joburg Contemporary Art Foundation's (JCAF) annual exhibition, exploring stewardship of the Earth. From Ernesto Neto's oceanic installation to a hydroponic garden in the gallery, this show is a brilliant accompaniment to thinking through our place in the world. Guided viewings are by appointment only; make a booking here.

Last chance to see

Until Thu, Jun 20 – Jonathan Freemantle unveils a series of paintings and woodcarvings created during his seven-month residency at the Hugo Burge Foundation in Scotland. The Fallen Tree at Gallery MOMO draws on diverse influences from Jackson Hlungwani, an artist Freemantle has long admired, as well as Japanese Zen painting, African ritual masks, and the natural world.

Solo shows

Until Sat, Jun 29 – The vivid imagination of Georgina Gratrix sings in Between Two Palms: New Works from Durban, a solo show by the painter at Stevenson. Ranging between still life and portraiture, it's an intimate love letter to the artist's hometown.
 
It's gloriously kitsch in Georgina Gratrix's world – we love it. Photo: Stevenson. 

​​​​Until Sat, Jun 29 – The result of seven years of archival and field research, writer and artist Bettina Malcomess's film cycle Sentimental Agents tracks the journey of "a technician of minor histories, trying to tell the story of cinema's place in the South African War". Public programming around the exhibition at Wits Art Museum (WAM) responds to the resonance between this war history and our contemporary moment, making this a show you'll want to revisit.
Until Sun, Jul 21 – Journey Becomes Joy is collage artist John Vusi Mfupi's solo exhibition with Candice Berman Gallery at 223 Jan Smuts, inspiring us to trust life's unexpected lessons and embrace change without fear.
Until Sat, Jul 6 – In Still Waters at Goodman Gallery, the artist's first major solo exhibition on the continent, Remy Jungerman continues his exploration of Surinamese Maroon culture, the larger African diaspora, and 20th-century Modernism.
Until Sun, Jul 7 Tatenda Magaisa's multimedia exhibition It wearies me; you say it wearies you at Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG) explores themes of sanity and overwhelm with a dose of humour. 
Until Mon, Aug 19 – Explore the life and legacy of Bang Bang Club photographer Ken Oosterbroek in the posthumous exhibition, Killed in Africa, at Museum Africa. Oosterbroek's images captured the dark days of apartheid and the struggle towards freedom right up until he was killed on duty in Thokoza, nine days before South Africa's first democratic elections in 1994. 
Ongoing – Renowned artist and photographer Roger Ballen's semi-permanent exhibition End of the Game at the Inside Out Centre for the Arts chronicles the practice of unrestrained hunting. Ballen will host walkabouts of the show, which will change periodically with input from various collaborators, on the first Saturday of every month. Follow @insideoutcentre on Instagram for details.

Group exhibitions

Until end Jun – Change of Season at the gallery (adjoining the atelier) at 44 Stanley explores the theme of transformation through work by Sitaara StodelFiona PoleNokukhanya Charity Vilakazi, and more.
Until end Jun – A floral fancy graces Gallery 1 at Keyes Art Mile with a selection of still lives with flowers; a visual feast featuring work ranging from inimitable greats including Irma Stern and Alexis Preller to contemporary artist Lady Skollie.
Until Sun, Jun 30 – The Manor's dual exhibition Sibadala Sibancane comes to Keyes Art Mile's Annex space. Together, Katlehong-born photographer Lebogang Tlhako, popularly known as Sisterbozza, and Cape Town-based storyteller Mikhailia Petersen, explore the complexities of growing up and being a young person in South Africa.
Until Fri, Jul 12 – Impactful local storytelling meets comic art for the multimedia showcase African Hero at UJ Art Gallery. Publishers of South African comic books, Rainbow Nation Comics, and community organisation Afro Geek join forces for this playful exhibition which seeks to "Africanise the superhero aesthetic" and celebrate stories rooted in African values.
Until mid-July – You’ll never look at a weed growing out of a crack in the pavement the same way after seeing Scapeland at W17 Gallery in Rosebank. The dual exhibition brings work by photographer Michael Meyersfeld and fine artist Michael Vickers into fascinating conversation, teasing out themes around the built environment and nature.
Until Sun, Jul 21 – Path Nomad, a new gallery and storytelling space at 44 Stanley, spotlights nine artists working across disciplines in the first exhibition of their SALON series including Thabang LehobyeThokozani Arthur Dlamini, and Rez Inyanzi.
Until Sun, Jul 21 – In Pretty Brilliant at Berman Contemporary, 10 artists from the gallery's stable share the magic of female stories. See new works in sculpture, painting, photography, and installation by Amogelang MaepaNatalie de Morney, and Odette Graskie, among others. 
Until Wed, Jul 31 – The landmark showcase Resilience and Reflection at the Apartheid Museum joins the chorus in exhibitions celebrating South Africa's unsung art heroes. Featuring black artists like Dumile Feni, Winston Saoli, and David Phoshoko Mothapeng, these repatriated works provide a record of township life during apartheid.
Until mid-August – A new beginning for No End. The contemporary art space celebrates its re-launch with two exhibitions in its new Parkhurst gallery. Downstairs, look out for work by Chloë Reid, Givan Lötz, and MJ Turpin in Getting It Wrong, while Bruce Mackay, Karlien de Villiers, Amé Bell, and more show in the Playlist exhibition upstairs.
Until Sat, Aug 31 – Hand-carved wooden forms, botanical prints, and other objects of exquisite beauty are on display in Touch Wood in The Makers Room at Kim Sacks GalleryGeoffrey Armstrong, whose incredible wooden carvings showed at RMB Latitudes this year, exhibits in the show alongside Leila WalterLameck Tayengwa, Paul Kristafor, and more.
 
From tapestries woven on a wooden loom to delicate wood carvings, Touch Wood is a tactile delight. Photo: Kim Sacks Gallery.

Until Fri, Dec 6 – Homage to Pretoria at Javett-UP's Bridge Gallery space features works by leading 19th- and 20th-century South African artists including JH Pierneef and Frans Oerder alongside present-day contemporaries like Lucky Sibiya and Elizabeth Rampa. The long-term exhibition surfaces the nuanced histories of Pretoria woven into the fabric of the entire country, honouring the landscape and its people while questioning the city's legacy as a symbol of state control.
Ongoing – The South African Gold Coin Exchange and the Scoin Shop are behind a permanent exhibition, We Love Mandela, at The Marc in Sandton Central. The group show charts some of the most important milestones in Nelson Mandela's life through paintings, textiles, and sculptural works.
Ongoing – Over at Museum Africa, one aspect of the country's cultural heritage is in the spotlight with Traditional Dresses of Southern Africa. Through symbolic forms and shapes, each dress tells a story of community, history, and tradition. 

Save the date

Opening Thu, Jun 27 from 17:30 – 19:30 – Multidisciplinary artist Natalie Paneng imagines blended, limitless worlds in her solo Uncanny Valley at David Krut's The Blue House, creating an eerie, evocative space "where the thread of connection and memory is present but there are many levels of blurred accuracy". 
Opening Sat, Jul 6 from 10:30 – Two exhibitions celebrating 30 years of freedom open at The Melrose Gallery. The Agitation to Regain... To Regain, The Regeneration of Africa and 30 Years of Wishful Thinking reflect on where we are as a nation. 

Wondering what else to do this week? Read our weekly events guide here. For our latest updates, follow us on Instagram

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