7 Art Events You Need to See in South Africa This July

The best South African art exhibitions and events this July.

Welcome to the second instalment of our monthly South African art calendar. These are the dopest events and exhibitions across South Africa this July.

The Quiet Violence of Dreams

Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town & Johannesburg

Zanele Muholi, Hate crime survivor I, 2004. © Zanele Muholi courtesy of Stevenson Cape Town and Johannesburg.

The Stevenson Gallery is showcasing the two-city exhibition The Quiet Violence of Dreams in Braamfontein and Woodstock beginning on 21 July. Developed by Joost Bosland in conversation with Moshekwa Langa, the show is presented as a tribute to the late South African writer K Sello Duiker’s seminal 2001 novel. The book follows the life of Tshepo, a student living in Cape Town, as his inner life traverses madness, shame, sex, violence, power, intimacy, history, xenophobia, sexuality, love, race, mysticism and mystery. You can anticipate the exhibition to reflect many of the same themes.

Indeed, there is much to be unraveled in The Quiet Violence of Dreams, such as issues of institutional violence, as noted in Glenn Ligon’s Untitled (Bruise/Blues), and Turiya Magadlela’s new installation featuring the fabric of prison uniforms in Stevenson’s Braamfontein space. Notions of sexual violence and intimacy will take centre stage in Lebanese filmmaker and photographer Akram Zaatari’s How I Love You and Zanele Muholi’s series of photographs, Only Half the Picture.

An extra treat for those in Cape Town, Café Ganesh in Observatory, which features prominently in Duiker’s novel, is hosting an opening night party with Buhlebezwe Siwani playing music from the early 2000s.

The Quiet Violence of Dreams runs at Stevenson Gallery in Cape Town and Johannesburg from 21 July - 27 August 2016.

The Turbine Art Fair

Turbine Hall, Johannesburg

Sakhile Cebekhulu, Qina Ndoda, 2016. Crocheting & print on canvas.

The Turbine Art Fair returns to Newtown's iconic Turbine Hall for a 4th year from the 14th – 17th July. Expect a mingled crowd of established collectors, first-time art buyers and live music. Be sure to check out the Fresh Produce exhibition, a showcasing of emerging artists brought to you by Sowetan curator Rolihlahla Mhlanga, including Lloyd Maluleke, Azael Langa, Sifiso Temba, Tshepiso Mazibuko Nkosinathi Quwe, Mduduzi Twala, Sakhile Cebekhulu, Kelebogile Masilo, Mandlenkosi Mavengere, Kgomotso Neto, Bukhosi Nyathi, Rendani Nemakhavhani, Zanele Mashinini, Sibusiso Bheka, Lindokuhle Sobekwa, Lindo Zwane and Bokang Menkoe.

Paradoxal Stranger

Gallery MOMO, Cape Town

Andrew Thomas Huang, Interstice, 2016. Courtesy of Gallery MOMO.

For all the lovers of video art, make sure you check out Paradoxal Stranger, a group exhibition of local and international artists toying with ideas of being a ‘stranger’ and a ‘citizen’ in an array of sociopolitical contexts.

Los Angeles native Andrew Thomas Huang’s film Interstice dances on the borders of China, New York and Eastern Orthodox church rituals to reveal cultural synchronicity. Dor Guez’s film, Sabir, intertwines the personal history of a woman named Samira and a poetic musing on the larger historical and social narratives of the Christian Palestinian diaspora in the Middle East. Congolese artist Maurice Mbikayi presents Techno Dandies, an afrofuturistic envisioning of hybrid identities. Other artists on show include Kambui Olujimi, Whitney McVeigh and Lauren Brown.

Paradoxal Stranger will run until 30 July 2016 at Gallery MOMO in Cape Town.

Miora Rajaonary, I See You With My Heart

Alliance Française, Port Elizabeth

Warren & Pam. Photo: Miora Rajaonary

Miora Rajaonary, a Johannesburg-based interdisciplinary artist originally from Madagascar, explores the myriad experiences of interracial couples in post-apartheid South Africa, Guateng specifically, in her debut solo exhibition, I See You With My Heart: An Exhibition for the New South Africa.

“Freedom came to South Africa in many ways,” says Rajaonary, “but this project wishes to emphasize the freedom of being able to love without prejudice.”

The exhibition is touring South Africa and Lesotho throughout the months of July and August, showcasing intimate portraits and audio interviews with interracial couples. After beginning with a two-week run in Johannesburg, the traveling exhibition heads to Alliance Francaise in Port Elizabeth from the 16th to 28th of July.


SOSESAME Gallery, Johannesburg

Khehla Chepape Makgato, Mosebjadi, 2016. Original print collage 63 x 97cm. Courtesy of SOSESAME Gallery.

SOSESAME Gallery’s second group exhibition showcases four decades of art and artists whose work reflects on the experiences of the South African youth. The show, which opened on 16 June in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the 1976 Soweto Uprising, incites an amplification of artistry concerned with issues affecting young people in contemporary South Africa. Habashwe will run until 31 July 2016 at SOSESAME Gallery in Melville, Johannesburg.

Vincent Bezuidenhout, Fail Deadly

Goethe on Main, Johannesburg

Vincent Bezuidenhout, Hole Punch #1. Courtesy of the artist.

Vincent Bezuidenhout investigates apartheid South Africa’s clandestine nuclear weapons program in a new show at Goethe on Main. Fail Deadly incorporates photojournalism, image appropriation, landscape photography and archival documentation to delve into notions of history, power, secrecy and identity.

“During the 1970s and 80s the government built six atom bombs in complete secrecy, which was swiftly disbanded as the apartheid system crumbled,” explains Bezuidenhout. “Exploiting the aesthetics of research, rather than its results, I construct a narrative that allows me to expand on and re-contextualize the facts and theories surrounding the events. Using absence, omission and cover-ups, I examine elements of history and power, while reflecting on my own identity within the South African historiography.”

Fail Deadly opens on Thursday 7 July
 at Goethe on Main in Johannesburg. It runs until 29 July.

Banele Khoza, Temporary Feelings

Pretoria Art Museum, Pretoria

Banele Khoze, His bed, 2016. Digital drawing, printed on 18cm x 29cm paper. Edition of 10.

Rising art star Banele Khoza debuts his first solo exhibition, Temporary Feelings, at the Pretoria Art Museum this month. A collection of ethereal pieces in watercolour, juxtaposed with digital illustrations, and an installation, the work invokes both the personal and fantasy while interrogating notions of identity and gender performance. Temporary Feelings will run from 9 July until 4 September 2016.

Chaze has got Zambian roots and is currently making the most out of a polyamorous relationship between poetry, photography and documentary filmmaking in Cape Town.

Artwork: Barthélémy Toguo Lockdown Selfportrait 10, 2020. Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co

1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair Goes to Paris in 2021

The longstanding celebration of African art will be hosted by Parisian hot spot Christie's for the first time ever.

In admittedly unideal circumstances, 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair will be touching French soil in 2021. The internationally celebrated art fair devoted to contemporary art from Africa and the African diaspora will be hosted in Paris, France from January 20 - 23. With COVID-19 still having its way around the globe, finding new ways to connect is what it's all about and 1-54 is certainly taking the innovative steps to keep African art alive and well.
In partnership with Christie's, the in-person exhibits will take place at the auction house's city HQ at Avenue Matignon, while 20 international exhibitors will be featured online at And the fun doesn't stop there as the collaboration has brought in new ways to admire the talent from participating galleries from across Africa and Europe. The fair's multi-disciplinary program of talks, screenings, performances, workshops, and readings are set to excite and entice revelers.

Artwork: Delphine Desane Deep Sorrow, 2020. Courtesy Luce Gallery

The tech dependant program, curated by Le 18, a multi-disciplinary art space in Marrakech medina, will see events take place during the Parisian run fair, followed by more throughout February.
This year's 1-54 online will be accessible to global visitors virtually, following the success of the 2019's fair in New York City and London in 2020. In the wake of COVID-19 related regulations and public guidelines, 1-54 in collaboration with Christie's Paris is in compliance with all national regulations, strict sanitary measures, and security.

Artwork: Cristiano Mongovo Murmurantes Acrilico Sobre Tela 190x200cm 2019

1-54 founding director Touria El Glaoui commented, "Whilst we're sad not to be able to go ahead with the fourth edition of 1-54 Marrakech in February as hoped, we are incredibly excited to have the opportunity to be in Paris this January with our first-ever fair on French soil thanks to our dedicated partners Christie's. 1-54's vision has always been to promote vibrant and dynamic contemporary art from a diverse set of African perspectives and bring it to new audiences, and what better way of doing so than to launch an edition somewhere completely new. Thanks to the special Season of African Culture in France, 2021 is already set to be a great year for African art in the country so we are excited to be playing our part and look forward, all being well, to welcoming our French friends to Christie's and many more from around the world to our online fair in January."

Julien Pradels, General Director of Christie's France, said, "Christie's is delighted to announce our second collaboration with 1-54, the Contemporary African Art Fair, following a successful edition in London this October. Paris, with its strong links to the continent, is a perfect place for such a project and the additional context of the delayed Saison Africa 2020 makes this partnership all the more special. We hope this collaboration will prove a meaningful platform for the vibrant African art scene and we are confident that collectors will be as enthusiastic to see the works presented, as we are."

Artwork: Kwesi Botchway Metamorphose in July, 2020. Courtesy of the artist and Gallery 1957

Here's a list of participating galleries to be on the lookout for:


31 PROJECT (Paris, France)
50 Golborne (London, United Kingdom)
Dominique Fiat (Paris, France)
Galerie 127 (Marrakech, Morocco)
Galerie Anne de Villepoix (Paris, France)
Galerie Cécile Fakhoury (Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire/ Dakar, Senegal)
Galerie Eric Dupont (Paris, France)
Galerie Lelong & Co. (Paris, France / New York, USA)
Galerie Nathalie Obadia (Paris, France / Brussels, Belgium)
Galleria Continua (Beijing, China / Havana, Cuba / Les Moulins, France / San Gimignano, Italy / Rome, Italy)
Gallery 1957 (Accra, Ghana / London, United Kingdom)
Loft Art Gallery (Casablanca, Morocco)

Luce Gallery (Turin, Italy)
MAGNIN-A (Paris, France)
Nil Gallery (Paris, France)
POLARTICS (Lagos, Nigeria)
SEPTIEME Gallery (Paris, France)
This is Not a White Cube (Luanda, Angola) THK Gallery (Cape Town, South Africa) Wilde (Geneva, Switzerland)

For more info visit 1-54

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