Norval Foundation, Cape Town
Mixed Company13 February – 31 May 2021
Mixed Company is a thematic group exhibition exploring the act of gathering, pictured through the eyes of eleven modern and contemporary artists from southern Africa: Omar Badsha, Jody Brand, David Goldblatt, Dada Khanyisa, Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi, Musa N. Nxumalo, Leonard Matsoso, John Muafangejo, Kresiah Mukwazhi, Selby Mvusi, and Gerard Sekoto. Spanning from 1941 — with Sekoto’s painting titled Workers on a Saturday — to 2020, the exhibition presents a selection of situations in which people meet with one another. The act of social gathering has gained in importance due its relative absence as a result of the pandemic. The exhibition hopes to use the perspective gained by this absence to reconsider an aspect of our lives that we may have taken for granted. While it is too soon to fully account for the events of the past year, we can think more deeply about what it means to us to be physically close to one another, whether we yearn for it or are quietly dreading a return to our ‘normal’ social obligations.
Mixed Company brings together works by established artists, held by the Homestead Collection, with loans from talented young artists. In the case of renowned artists like Sekoto and Goldblatt, the exhibition encourages viewers to look at their works with fresh eyes and reconsider their content. For the less widely cited artists, such as Matsoso, Muafangejo and Mvusi, the exhibition asserts their continued relevance. In regard to the contemporary artworks, Mixed Company highlights the artistic practices that may define this complicated present moment in the future, some of which we have recently acquired. Accounts of South African art history remain imbalanced in their treatment of women artists. Though we have much progress to make, Norval Foundation commits to addressing this imbalance through our acquisition practices and our upcoming programming.
Mixed Company is curated by Khanya Mashabela, Curator, Norval Foundation.