JHB Art Fair: Esther Mahlangu, Tony Gum, Lady Skollie. Taken By Themba Mbuyisa

One of the most diarised events of the year, the FNB Joburg Art Fair, took place at the Sandton Convention Centre. The main conference hall was transformed into a large gallery space where artists, writers, curators and lovers of art came together to celebrate art in all its glory.

Every artwork evoked an array of emotions, debate and thought provoking conversations. Here are my top five artists in no particular order.

Lady Skollie 

Currently based in Johannesburg , the Cape Town born artist showcased her work at the fair titled Fire with Fire. Inspired by the ancient Khoisan fire ritual of chanting around a fire, she depicts burning female genitalia in the form of flames with men chanting around it. The powerful message behind the piece is to confront gender violence and the daily struggles women face. This resonated strongly with me, as a young South African woman.

Zanele  Muholi

Zanele Muholi’s self-portrait, from her Somnyama Ngonyama series,  stood tall against one of the exhibition partitions. Instantly drawn to the deep rich tones in the photograph, I was intrigued by the depiction of the powerful presence of a woman with her unwavering strength both deeply meaningful and as a celebration of African women.

Peju Alatise

Nigerian born artist, poet and writer, Peju Alatise’s interesting installation of old tyres looked very ornamental from a distance. A closer look revealed multiple human figures, appearing to have their fists in the air.  My interpretation of this installation, a literal piece of protest art, with the  burgundy figures resemble burning tyres, is that of a community standing together as a united front, and the possibilities of post-struggle celebration.

Michele Silk

As a fan of Michele Silks work,  I find it light, fun and playful and every artwork is vibrant. The use of colour and brush strokes gives movement to the pieces. Her work is layered and textured. I appreciate the high-spirited nature of her work. She depicts icons in a very colourful and jubilant manner making them seem more relatable.

Jody Paulsen

Young contemporary artist Jody Paulsen’s work has a very 90s Memphis style to it.  The use of different patterns, texture and colours give movement to his pieces. The very controversial name of one of his Pieces, The Fag Hags, is a fun piece with lots of motion and a variation of texture. A piece that I would invest in and a definite conversation starter.

Lady Skollie: Fire With Fire shot by Themba Mbuyisa