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A well-composed symphony of urban life | Pat Mautloa’s new exhibition at UJ Gallery

In his new solo exhibition at the UJ Art Gallery, Urban Soundscapes – Crafting Spaces of Belonging, Pat Mautloa explores relationships of power in the city.  

The UJ Art Gallery presents Kagiso ‘Pat’ Mautloa’s new solo exhibition, Urban Soundscapes – Crafting Spaces of Belonging, curated by UJ Art Gallery curator Thabo Seshoka. Set to open on 6 August and run until 30 September 2022, the exhibition is inspired by ordinary life in urban spaces explored through the lens of the socio-political.

Pat Mautloa exhibition Joburg UJ Gallery

‘Kagiso “Pat” Mautloa has the distinctive ability to capture and communicate the complexities of everyday life in urban spaces through his unique process of incorporating ordinary and discarded objects into his artworks thus revitalising their sense of meaning, purpose, and existence. These objects, likened to the multiple figures that reside within the city, serve as inspirations for Mautloa’s body of work, which interrogates the social issues that plague individuals within urban settings and their ability to create or renew their senses of existence.’

Thabo Seshoka

Describing urban spaces as ‘imagined temporal worlds that are engulfed by the socio-political’ where ‘a multitude of people reside and where none originate from[1]‘ the curator, through Mautloa’s lens, looks to ‘the shadowy figures that fuel the hustle and bustle of the city; an omnipotent machine, consumed by the notion of power and authority over others[2].’ His interest lies in how the ‘battle is waged amongst these shadowy figures’ who ‘operate within a regulated structure, maintained, and guarded by “official” and “un-official” custodians, who have or continue to benefit from the old ways of order[3].’ He explores their desire to question belonging and reluctance to relinquish their control of the city’s machinery.

Recognised as a pioneer of modernist painting in South Africa, Mautloa’s central theme in his work is the study of life around him. Through his work he regularly visits these urban spaces in painting, drawing, sculpture and printmaking. Drawn in bright colour and with texture, Mautloa makes innovative use of found objects – often discarded refuse found in these urban spaces – and abstract textures and mundane surfaces.

Through a series of new works in various forms and mediums, this exhibition offers Mautloa’s audience a ‘well-composed symphony of urban life,’ documenting the beats and rhythms of these imagined worlds and the figures that reside within them.

‘Complimented by a curatorial process that was centred around unpacking the notions of identity, belonging and subjugation within urban spaces, this exhibition explores how individuals create a sense of identity and belonging within the confines of unequal power relations, where some individuals benefit from their subjugation.’

Thabo Seshoka

RSVP to attend the opening of Urban Soundscapes – Crafting Spaces of Belonging on 6 August 2022.

[1] Makhubu, N. 2008. “The “other” Africans: re-examining representations of sexuality in the work of Nicholas Hlobo and Zanele Muholi”. MA Thesis. Grahamstown: Rhodes University.

[2] Vandeyar, S. 2013. “Youthscapes: the politics of belonging for ‘Makwerekwere’ youth in South African schools” Citizenship Studies. 17 (4): 447 – 463.

Appadurai, A. 1996. Modernity at large: cultural dimensions of globalisation. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

[3] Seshoka. T. 2017. Intimate Strangers – Encountering the Foreign in Urban Spaces. Port Elizabeth. Nelson Mandela University.

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