national Arts Festival Banner

Tuesday, January 17, 2017


(Work by Manfred Zylla)

Beyond Binaries is a curated exhibition at the newly refurbished Durban Art Gallery featuring work by 26 artists. The exhibition aims to open up discussion on the current climate of polarization and intolerance, and the increasing trend towards fixed, essentialised identities.

Beyond Binaries features works with video, photography, paintings, drawings, sculpture, ceramics, wire and mixed media works on show. South African born artists are complemented by their peers born in African countries as well as artists born in India, China and Germany. The exhibition has been curated by Qala!, a fledgling curatorial collective comprising Mario Pissarra, Robin Moodley and Russel Hlongwane, three Durban-born cultural workers.

Several exhibits address critical questions concerning race, gender, national identity and heritage. The relationship of people to the natural environment provides another sub-theme that is prominently featured. Several exhibits bring binaries into vivid focus, whilst others attempt to transcend these to create or suggest hybrid, fluid or emerging notions of identity.

KZN is well represented by a healthy mix of acclaimed and emerging talents: Cedric Nunn (photography), Sfiso ka Mkame, Mthobisi Maphumulo, Mhlonishwa Chiliza, Eugene Hlophe (drawings), Paul Sibisi and Nicole Pletts (paintings), Thembi Nala and Sbonelo Tau Luthuli (pottery), Hlengiwe Dube (wirework), and Kristin NG-Yang (photography and mixed media).

Bulawayo and Libreville, sister cities to Durban, are represented by Nonhlanhla Mathe (painting) and Nathalie Anguezomo Mba Bikoro (video). The exhibition also features Namibian photographer Julia Hango as well as work by African nationals living in South Africa, namely Lizette Chirrime (Mozambique), Robert Machiri (Zimbabwe), and Zemba Luzamba (DRC).

Also exhibiting are Ayesha Price, Donovan Ward, Garth Erasmus, Jeannette Unite, Jill Joubert, Manfred Zylla, Meghna Singh, Nomusa Makhubu and Thania Petersen.

The artists were selected following a process where 54 artists identified by a curatorial panel were invited to propose works on the theme of the exhibition.

Beyond Binaries was originally commissioned by the City of eThekwini for the recent Essence Festival Durban, where it was exhibited at the International Convention Centre under the banner of ARTiculate Africa.

The exhibition runs until February 19, 2017. DAG is on the second floor of the Durban City Hall (enter opposite the Playhouse). For more information, contact the Gallery on 031 311 2264/9 or (weekdays).