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28 June 2024

New art exhibition ‘Entangled’ launched at Rhodes House

Curated by Rhodes Scholar Julie Taylor (Zimbabwe & St Antony’s 2003), the compelling exhibition features the work of seven southern African artists and takes an intimate look at how artists have grappled with colonial legacies, their material manifestations and visual symbolism, pointing to the possibility of decolonisation. Launched on 19 June 2024 at Rhodes House, the exhibition drew a diverse audience from both the Rhodes Trust community and the wider Oxford public.

Entitled ‘Entangled’, the exhibition features artworks by Nicola Brandt, Isheanesu Dondo, Raymond Fuyana, Muningandu Hoveka, Tuli Mekondjo, Zenaéca Singh & Gift Uzera who hail from South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe. Their expressions span a variety of art forms including photography, painting, sculpture and performance, offering a multi-dimensional exploration of these profound themes.

Entangled art exhibition at Rhodes House

Both Nicola Brandt’s own artworks and her collaboration with Gift Uzera and Muningandu Hoveka create a link between Namibia’s colonial past and the spectres of Rhodes that exist in several places in South Africa, Zimbabwe and the United Kingdom.

Raymond Fuyana’s painting depicts a memorial to the South African War (1899 - 1902) and reminds us how a small number of men profoundly influenced the aesthetics of colonial memorialisation across countries and continents.

The drawings of Isheanesu Dondo reference Great Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Bird as a way of pointing to how these symbols were appropriated into the Freemasons’ visual lexicon in both the colonies and the metropole.

Zenaéca Singh looks at how sugar farming in South Africa, one of the primary undertakings of the British empire, relied on indentured Indian labour, including women. Singh uses as her medium the very output of that labour - sugar.

The presence of collective ancestors resounds in Tuli Mekondjo’s work, which mourns and honours the memory of her Namibian female forebears. She metaphorically stitches together past and present, birth and death, reminding us burial can be followed by resurrection.

Julie Taylor addressing a group of people listening intently at the Entangled art exhibition launch
Julie Taylor addressing the room at the Entangled exhibition launch

Julie Taylor is the founder and director of Guns & Rain, a contemporary art gallery based in Johannesburg. Established in 2014 to address the under-representation of African art globally, the gallery has supported 75 artists from 11 African countries. The gallery is known for its focus on social and political themes and for identifying and supporting new talented artists as they build their careers.

‘Entangled’ forms part of the Rhodes Trust’s dynamic art programme that launched in the summer of 2023 following the reopening of the reimagined Rhodes House. These thoughtfully curated exhibitions encourage us to reflect on the Rhodes Scholarship, its complex and difficult past, its vibrant present and its future full of hope.

Learn more about ‘Entangled’ and the ongoing art programme at Rhodes House.

A woman watching a film titled Man of War: Leave My House by Gift Uzera, Muningandu Hoveka and Nicola Brandt
Man of War: Leave My House by Gift Uzera, Muningandu Hoveka and Nicola Brandt
A man viewing the artwork titled Regular Time: Kimberley by Raymond Fuyana
Regular Time: Kimberley by Raymond Fuyana
Matopos by Isheanesu Dondo
Matopos by Isheanesu Dondo
Five Generations, The Beginning and Three Ships artworks by Zenaéca Singh
Five Generations, The Beginning and Three Ships artworks by Zenaéca Singh
Two women viewing Tuli Mekondjo’s artwork
Kemeni! Ounona voluhepo! / Wail! Children of poverty! by Tuli Mekondjo

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