Female artists challenge social issues at Sculpture Fair

The turbulent history of South Africa has left its women with several challenges to overcome; many of which are linked to gender-based violence, exploitation and underrepresentation, as well as minimal economic empowerment.

This became clear, this past weekend, when the likes of Zanele Muholi, Sophia van Wyk, Nandipha Mntambo and Frances Goodman exhibited artwork that addressed entrenched patriarchy in today’s society, at the NIROX Foundation Sculpture Park, during the 2018 American Express Winter Sculpture Fair.

Goodman’s Siren art piece was an image of a scantily clothed woman dangling seductively from a pole. This epitomised the exploitation of the female body for male pleasure, and yet symbolised ownership of one’s own body and sexuality. While Muholi showcased Koze Kubenini, which highlighted the reality of black queers, lesbians and the trans community, a group that remains one of South Africa’s most marginalized, van Wyk’s A Foot In The Door sculpture evoked a transgressive cake topper as a starting point to create unsettling and fantastical objects which reflect gender complexity.

Themed NOT A SINGLE STORY; a line inspired by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s The Dangers Of A Single Story, the 2018 American Express Winter Sculpture Fair was as a result of the new partnership between American Express® and Artlogic and was attended by 6000 visitors.

The Fair appealed to locals who were interested in experiencing coming into contact with seasonally curated larger-than-life sculptures dotted across the landscape, combined with the best food and wine from the Franschhoek Valley brought to the Fair in partnership with Franschhoek Tourism. The ultimate marriage of local art, food and wine.

Some of the artists who exhibited at the 2018 American Express Winter Sculpture Fair included the Berlin and Nairobi-based Mwangi Hutter, South Africa’s Mary Sibande, Sethembile Msezane as well as the Japanese multimedia artist Yoko Ono.

Photo credit: Mariska van den Brink

Want more about Zanele Muholi? Read this.

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