Accomplished young artist, Haroon Gunn-Salie has been announced as the 2018 winner of the FNB Art Prize.
Since its establishment in 2011, the FNB Art Prize has celebrated and recognised groundbreaking artists from across the African continent. This coveted award includes a cash prize as well as an opportunity to showcase their work in a dedicated space at the FNB JoburgArtFair.
Haroon Gunn-Salie graduated with a BA Hons in Sculpture from the University of Cape Town’s Michaelis School of Fine Art in 2012 and has since established a collaborative art practice that translates community oral histories into artistic interventions and installations.
With the title of social activist often attached to his name, Gunn-Salie has tackled subjects like the forced removals under apartheid (with a focus on District Six), slave trading in the Cape and the current Eurocentric historical narrative, the intersecting histories of Islam and the resistance to colonialism and apartheid in South Africa, to name a few. He has a multidisciplinary approach, in which he regularly makes use of sculpture and soundscapes to create installations that evoke dialogue and exchange around topics that are often consigned to the margins.
For the FNB JoburgArtFair, Gunn-Salie has created a special extension of his ongoing project, Senzenina – reflection space. Senzenina was originally showcased at the New Museum in New York as part of Songs for Sabotage, and is part of an elite group of works shown as part of the Frieze Sculpture exhibition in London’s Regent’s Park until mid-October.
The dedicated booth at the FNB JoburgArtFair allows a homecoming of sort for this work, which so far has only been appreciated aboard
In Senzenina, Gunn-Salie raises questions of multinational and police complicity incarnating the Marikana massacre, the most lethal use of force by South African security forces against civilians since the 1960s. The mass catastrophe took place on August 16, 2012, when the South African Police Service opened fire on a crowd of striking mine-workers in the Wonderkop sub-district of Marikana. Unionized miners demanded a wage increase at the Lonmin platinum mine and had been protesting for a week prior to the incident, with several casualties occurring even before the massacre occurred.
In total, police shot and killed 34, left 78 seriously injured, and arrested 250 mineworkers. The state inquiry absolved key political figures accused of having a hand in the events leading to the massacre, with families of the slain miners still seeking reparations, attesting to the irreparable damage caused but not atoned for by the South African government or the company responsible.
The FNB Art Prize works on a nomination basis – all galleries participating at the FNB JoburgArtFair are given the opportunity to put forward one of their artists for consideration by the jury.
To read more about the sparsely lit and acoustically treated booth, where three benches are laid out in pews and an immersive 7.2-channel surround-soundscape transports viewers to the fateful day, look out for our September 2018 issue where we feature the full article and other news about the FNB JoburgArtFair. To continue supporting Creative Feel‘s role in the arts and culture sector, subscribe to our monthly magazine in print or digital editions.
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