Absa in partnership with the South African National Association for the Visual Arts (SANAVA) have announced the last Absa Art Hot Spot exhibition for 2021 entitled, The Resilience of the Human Spirit.
Opening on Thursday, 25 November and running until the end of January 2022, the collaborative exhibition showcases a selection of recently produced artworks by 2019 Absa L’Atelier Ambassadors Raji Bamidele from Nigeria, Winifrid Luena from Tanzania, and Nkhensani Rihlampfu from South Africa.
Absa Senior Specialist Art Curator, Dr Paul Bayliss, says they chose the theme as it embodies the many challenges society has been experiencing in the past two years.
‘The Resilience of the Human Spirit speaks to the many trials and tribulations people have been going through. The human body is a contrast of strength, weakness, duality, and dualism. It is both fragile and tough. But no matter what we endure, it is the resilience of the human spirit that allows us to keep moving forward. It keeps one alive, forcing one to keep achieving better, to overcome any obstacle and to endure. And it is through the regeneration of our souls connecting to the essence of life that enables us to persevere. In essence the human spirit demonstrates that where there is a will, there is way. This exhibition is a celebration of how the human body is able to triumph over all and any circumstance.’Dr Paul Bayliss, Absa Senior Specialist Art Curator
Bayliss adds that ‘This exhibition is in line with our ethos of making possibilities come to life for visual artists and we are using this to launch new works by our 2019 Absa L’Atelier ambassadors. In addition to this collaborative exhibition by these three young talented artists, each artist will, within the next five years, be taking up a solo exhibition in the Absa Gallery.’
SANAVA National President, Dr Avi Sooful, echoes the same sentiments and feels it’s time to celebrate the work of these young artists who were selected among hundreds of entries.
‘I think this exhibition comes at a time when we need to see our artists back doing what they love to do, which is art. In partnership with Absa, we always pride ourselves in helping to develop young artists from across the continent and I believe this exhibition will be the first of many to come for these talented artists,’ he says.
About the artworks
Nigerian-based visual artist Raji Bamidele, who drew inspiration from the experiences that moulded him as young man, previously mentioned that his work was inspired by his surroundings.
‘My works examines the everyday innermost activities of mankind, exploring personal and political narratives, focusing mostly on the resilience of the human spirit,’ said Bamidele.
South African multi-media artist Nkhensani Rihlampfu’s work aimed to expose the manipulation of communication through gesture and assumption by using fantastical figures to immerse viewers in a reality founded in perception.
‘The work exists in the overlapping margin between truth and ideology; it is in this space that we each discover our identity and acknowledge the importance of communication. We are presented with familiar structures and recognisable characteristics, but never definitive facts,’ he stated.
The third ambassador, Tanzanian visual artist Winifrid Luena’s work is a study of individuality over individualism.
‘There is a sense in the world at times that being an individual is a collective process – that it is part of a larger argument intended to bring some kind of human liberation, that it is an act of authority and power over the self – which is why I divide these two terms,’ he said.
The exhibition is available to view on the Absa Art Hot Spot from Thursday 25 November 2021 to the end of January 2022.