Guns & Rain shines a spotlight on female talent for Investec Cape Town Art Fair
The emerging African gallery presents three women artists from southern Africa
1 February 2020, Johannesburg. Johannesburg-based gallery Guns & Rain is delighted to be back at the Investec Cape Town Art Fair for the third year running. Recently celebrating its fifth birthday, the gallery works with emerging artists from six African countries, mostly southern African, and is known for its leaning towards social and political themes.
The gallery will present the work of three women artists, Bev Butkow (South Africa), Ann Gollifer (Botswana) and Tuli Mekondjo (Namibia). They are all returning artists to the fair.
Exploring history and identity politics through the lens of those who lived in exile during Namibia’s independence war, Mekondjo (b. 1982) works with mixed media on canvas, extending this into performance, and vice versa. Drawing on photographic archives and histories of change, loss and submission - particularly when it comes to women - sensitive botanical imagery pays homage to her forebears, fertility and continuity, whilst veiled figures comment on gendered struggle, intergenerational trauma, and displacement.
“As a female artist from Namibia, I hope to be a vessel of inspiration for the young women in my country, to never give up on their dreams, no matter what, to work hard at it, to have faith in themselves and talents. To be an African female artist at this point in time is monumental: this is the dawn for us to express our narratives that have been whispered in darkness for so long,” says Mekondjo.
Formerly a trained accountant, Bev Butkow’s (b. 1967) work explores the experience of the gendered labouring body. Investigating social expectations of women, women’s labour and its invisibility, Butkow creates abstracted woven, stitched, printed and mixed media works. The materials she uses (such as dishcloths) are socially coded. Simultaneously, her creations embody the women who labour and weave them, as well as consider the power hierarchy between artist and co-creators. With their coded surfaces, Butkow’s objects are layered stories and a mapping of contemporary life.
Ann Gollifer’s work in watercolour - making the paint herself with earth pigments - is part of an ongoing series titled “The Archaeology of Love”. They explore the possibilities of human redemption in the face of climate change and global warming. “Archaeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. If we understand where we come from, who we are, and what we must become, we might have a chance of survival in a simpler future. It is strange to think that perhaps nothing will be left of us in a few hundred years.”
The fair runs 14th-16th February at the Convention Centre in Cape Town. More information about visiting the fair can be found at https://www.investeccapetownartfair.co.za/. Guns & Rain will be at Booth C8.
Gallery profile and catalogues on Artsy: https://www.artsy.net/guns-and-rain
About Guns & Rain
Founded in 2014, Guns & Rain was one of Africa's first online galleries, founded by Julie Taylor to address the under-representation of African art online and globally. Guns & Rain now has a physical space in Johannesburg. The gallery works with contemporary emerging artists from six African countries, including South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique and Nigeria, and has produced regular exhibitions in Johannesburg since 2015. Most of the artists engage with social and political subject matter, and many are concerned with identity politics. The name ‘Guns & Rain’ comes from the work of South African-born British anthropologist and playwright David Lan - who wrote about guerrillas and spirit mediums in Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle - for its reference to culture, identity, land, struggle change, and other important African themes that inform the curatorial focus and programme of the gallery.