Artists who explore the urban environment feature in Tomorrows/Today 2017

Tomorrows/Today, a special project of the 2017 Cape Town Art Fair (CTAF), brings together rising contemporary artists who explore the urban environment in multiple ways. A key feature of the fair, this showcase solo presentations by a range of artists is curated by leading international curator, Tumelo Mosaka.

Tomorrows/Today features work by emerging artists from Africa and its Diaspora, who represent the continent’s most thought-provoking young voices. A total of 10 artists will feature works, including pieces by Onyis Martin (Kenya); Jackie Karuti (Kenya); Marcia Kure (Nigeria); Serge Attukwei Clottey (Ghana); Maurice Mbikayi (Democratic Republic of Congo); Sandile Zulu (South Africa); Tanya Poole (South Africa); Helen Teede (Zimbabwe); and Joël Andrianomearisoa (Madagascar).Tomorrows/Today will include a posthumous showing of photographs by Thabiso Sekgala (South Africa).


Onyis Martin, represented by ARTLabAfrica in Nairobi, recently opened a new exhibition entitled Onyis Martin: In Conversation (Talking Walls) at The LAB, ARTLabAfrica’s creative, pop-up space. This young painter and mixed media artist examines how identity is influenced by consumerism. Martin lives and works in Nairobi where he teaches art and crafts to children living in the slums of Mathare and Kibera.


Also hailing from Nairobi is Jackie Karuti of Circle Art Gallery. An experimental new media artist who’s practice spans installation, video and performance, Karuti will present conceptual works that deal with death, sexuality, space and urban culture. Karuti was recently nominated as a finalist in the Barclays L’Atelier Awards.

The US-based Nigerian artist Marcia Kure is represented by galley BLOOM Art in Lagos. She is best known for mixed media paintings and drawings that explore aspects of womanhood. She has participated in various international shows and biennales, with London’s Victoria and Albert Museum hosting Kure as artist-in-residence in 2014.

Gallery 1957, located in Accra, Ghana, will present the monumental mixed-media oevre of Serge Attukwei Clottey. Accra-based Clottey comments on consumerism and excessive consumption through repurposing everyday objects and re-imagining found materials. In 2016 he exhibited at major shows in Berlin, Accra, London and San Francisco.


Kinshasa-based Maurice Mbikayi is represented locally by the Gallery MOMO. Mbikayi’s mixed-media works combine aspects of performance and sculpture. He has exhibited in Southern African countries and abroad. Mbikayi was selected as a core participant in a symposium produced by the Braunschweig University of Art in Germany in exchange with the Michaelis School of Fine Art. He attained a Masters in Fine Art with distinction from Michaelis in 2015.

South Africa’s Sandile Zulu is an award-winning artist who is represented by local gallery SMAC. Zulu is best known for his distinctive choice of materials – fire-branded surfaces.  His work expresses his wide-ranging interests in biology, botany, history and philosophy. He has exhibited widely across South Africa, the USA and Europe. In 2012, Zulu presented his first solo exhibition with SMAC Gallery entitled, ARTOMS : Histopathology, Regeneration and Other Cases.


Also hailing from South Africa is contemporary painter and lecturer Tanya Poole, who forms part of the Everard Read and Circa gallery stable. Currently based in Grahamstown, Poole teaches art at Rhodes University. She has exhibited in a number of local and international group shows and solo presentations and is an accomplished portraitist.


Goodman Gallery will present the gritty, penetrating photographic portraits of Thabiso Sekgala. One of the country’s most promising young documentarians, Sekgala’s talents were lost with his unexpected death in 2014 – yet his body of work endures. Sekgala’s photographs capture the urban environment and confront perceptions surrounding place.

Zimbabwean-born painter Helen Teede examines landscape, land and ownership. For Teede, the surrounding landscape provides a point of departure as she explores the ways in which the surface of the earth can offer multiple readings. She currently resides in Zimbabwe where she is represented by First Floor Gallery Harare, as well as Showcase Gallery in Dubai.

Also with gallery representation beyond his homeland is Joël Andrianomearisoa, who is represented by Sabrina Amrani Gallery in Madrid. Andrianomearisoa is based between Paris and Antananarivo, Madagascar. His photographic works are widely shown internationally, and most recently, he presented a solo project at the Dak’Art Biennale d’Art Africain Contemporain 2016 in Dakar, Senegal. Andrianomearisoa strives to create works that capture the unexpected as well as urban space. He is also known for large-scale installation works.


What links these Tomorrows/Today artists, is that each of them “explores the ideologies and conditions of our urban environment,” Mosaka explains. “They demonstrate an intense awareness of the changing social and economic disparities defining our contemporary moment. These artists illuminate existing realities in ways that escape fixed ideological paradigms while drawing on African cultural influences.”

Tomorrows/Today will be on display in Cape Town Art Fair, in the Cape Town International Convention Centre, from the 17th to the 19th of February 2017.

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