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"Zion 9, 2018" (inkjet on Hahnemuhle photo rag)" by Mohau Modisakeng. Photo courtesy of Jenkins Johnson Gallery.

South African Artist Mohau Modisakeng Makes Solo NYC Debut With 'A Promised Land'

The artist will present the video installation 'ZION' and other works centering on the "global history of displacement of Black communities" at the Jenkins Johnson Gallery in Brooklyn.

Renowned South African visual artist Mohau Modisakeng presents A Promised Land, his latest solo exhibition, opening at Brooklyn's Jenkins Johnson Gallery this month. This marks the New York debut of Modisakeng's ZION video installation, based on the artists's 2017 performance art series by the same name. It originally debuted at the Performa Biennial.

"In ZION the artist deals with the relationship between body, place and the global history of displacement of Black communities," reads a press release. "There is an idea that all people are meant to belong somewhere, yet in reality there are millions of people who are unsettled, in search of refuge, migrating across borders and landscapes for various reasons."

In addition to the video, the show also features seven large-scale photographs that communicate themes of Black displacement. From 19th century Black settlements in New York City, which as the press release notes, were eradicated to clear space for the development of Central Park, to the scores of Africans who have faced conflict that has led them to life as refugees in foreign lands.


The exhibition also includes works from Modisakeng's 2017 series Passage, which debuted during the 2017 Venice Biennale. It's described as "a meditation on slavery's dismemberment of African identity and its enduring erasure of personal histories."

More broadly Modisakeng's work addresses "race, forced migration, the deep divides of post-apartheid South Africa, the post-colonial African continent, and the Global Black Diaspora as a whole" and has previously graced several shows and institutions, including the South African National Gallery, the Dak'Art Biennale and more. His statue honoring Nelson Mandela is set to be unveiled later this year at the Nelson Mandela Park in Amsterdam.

A Promised Land will open at Jenkins Johnson Gallery on Saturday, Feburary 29, get a preview of the exhibition via the images below.

"Untitled 28, 2018" by Mohau Modisakeng

Photo courtesy of Jenkins Johnson Gallery.

"Untitled 75, 2018" by Mohau Modisakeng

Photo courtesy of Jenkins Johnson Gallery.

"Untitled 12, 2018" by Mohau Modisakeng

Photo courtesy of Jenkins Johnson Gallery.

"Untitled 81, 2018" by Mohau Modisakeng

Photo courtesy of Jenkins Johnson Gallery.

"Ditaola XVI, 2014 (inkjet on Hahnemuhle photo rag)" by Mohau Modisakeng

Photo courtesy of Jenkins Johnson Gallery

"Metamorphosis 4, 2015 (inkjet on Hahnemuhle photo rag) " by Mohau Modisakeng.

Photo courtesy of Jenkins Johnson Gallery

Op-Ed
Photography by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Price to Pay: The Complicated Relationship Between Ambitiouz Entertainment and South Africa’s Music Scene

Through all the horror stories shared by artists, it's impossible to overlook Ambitiouz Entertainment's contribution to South African music.

One of the biggest South African songs at the moment boasts a lineup of artists that blend styles for a smooth collaboration. With verses for the heads and a catchy hook for the radio, "Price to Pay" by Miss Pru DJ features the duo Blaq Diamond and Lesotho-born rapper Malome Vector.

A quintessential Ambitiouz Entertainment song, "Price to Pay" feels like 2016/2017 all over again, even if it's for just above five minutes. When Ambitiouz started circa 2015, a majority of its hip-hop artists—Emtee, Saudi, Sjava, FiFi Cooper, and others—were doing trap rap, mostly in native languages. Even A-Reece, who raps almost exclusively in English now, threw a few SePitori phrases in his rhymes. Singles such as "Tshela" and "Smokolo" released by the rapper Priddy Ugly under Ambitiouz were his first experiments with adding native languages in his verses beyond hooks.

While streaming "Price to Pay" and other songs released by Ambitiouz Entertainment, however, one wonders if, years from now, Malome Vector and Blaq Diamond will be sharing horror stories of working with the label, just like many of its previous signings.

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