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I am because you are: A search for Ubuntu with permission to dream

The Standard Bank Gallery joins hands with renowned artist and curator, Usha Seejarim to present an inspiring exhibition of artworks lifted from the bank’s corporate art collection from 2 February to 31 March 2018.

Standard Bank
Passage, Andrew Tshabangu, 2007. Fibre-based print. 46 x 30cm

     A thought provoking and boldly curated exhibition, I am because you are: A search for Ubuntu with permission to dream, comprises various works of art by leading contemporary and modern South African artists.
     These include historic drawings by Dumile Feni, the striking work by Diane Victor, and a number of iconic works by William Kentridge. There are also the poignant pictures of the late, great Thami Mnyele, young creatives like Hasan and Husain Essop, along with the works of Alan Crump, and other great artists.
     The work on exhibit is presented against the backdrop of South Africa’s current sociopolitical context, which includes 24 years of democracy as a nation, and what would have been Nelson Mandela’s centenary – hence the inclusion of Johannes Segogela’s Mandela’s Birthday Party. The palpable greed in our political arena, for instance, is illustrated in images such as The Minister of Enterprise by Chiurai Kudzanai.
     The exhibition I am because you are: A search for Ubuntu with permission to dream aims to encourage its viewers to contemplate the African values of Ubuntu in the context of South Africa’s contemporary conditions.

Standard Bank
Cape Town (South Africa) Variation, Hasan and Husain Essop, 2009. Pigment print on cotton rag paper. 64 x 92cm

     I am because you are: A search for Ubuntu with permission to dream is a visual mission to find Ubuntu, a pursuit of ideals perhaps forgotten in mindsets of frustration, anger and even embarrassment. The exhibition thus draws from the word ‘Ubuntu’ as an African philosophy and human quality that, as noted by curator Usha Seejarim, ‘is not specific to South Africa, but common to many African countries.’
     The Standard Bank Corporate Art Collection is one of the most comprehensive repositories of South African art in the world, comprising over 1 200 works by more than 250 South African artists. This exhibition is part of the bank’s continued partnership with leading South African curators to present shows at the Standard Bank Gallery.
     The Standard Bank Gallery – located on the corner of Simmonds and Frederick streets in central Johannesburg – offers free, safe undercover parking on the corner of Harrison and Frederick streets. Gallery hours: Mondays to Fridays from 8:00 to 16:30, and Saturdays from 9:00 to 13:00. Entrance to the exhibition is free.
     The Standard Bank Gallery will be open on First Thursday evenings during the exhibition. For further information, please contact 011 631 4467.

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