Kalashnikovv Gallery is proud to present:
“FREEDOM OF _ _ EECH”
A dual exhibition by Ayanda Mabulu & Vusi Mxolisi Beauchamp
The artworks of Ayanda Mabulu and Vusi Beauchamp often explore themes such as political commentary, satire, government corruption, post-apartheid identity, censorship and the media’s ability to shape perceptions of reality.
In this latest exhibition, new works from each artist are paired together to create a type of dual vision where a single narrative is translated from two separate viewpoints.
While there is a large cross over between personal and political ideologies, each artist has formulated their response to current South African events in isolation and with a unique visual language that casts each voice in a different light.
The title of the exhibition refers to the proclamation “freedom of speech” as well as The South African protection of State Information Bill, commonly referred to as the Secrecy Bill and the South African Bill of Rights.
The “secrecy bill” was passed by the National Assembly in April 2013 after tremendous criticism and allegations that the bill would ultimately be used to decrease Government transparency and cover up corruption. The title is also linked to section 16 of the constitutional Bill of Rights which declares:
“Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, which includes:
freedom of the press and other media,
freedom to receive or impart information or ideas and freedom of artistic creativity.
The notion of protection granted by the Constitution becomes slightly comical when considering that both Ayanda and Vusi have received numerous threats against their person along with constant harassment due to the ideas portrayed within their artworks. For this reason the word “speech” has been censored to read “eech” pertaining to our individual freedoms as South African citizens.
Ayanda Mabulu born in King William’s Town (1981) in a township called Zwelitsha, is a self taught artist whose work focuses on social upheavals and matters affecting the politics of the black body.
Inspired by people, music, and the beat of the drum, sounds of jazz trumpet, saxophone and hip-hop culture along its politics. Mabulu tackles issues of inequality and its experiences in contemporary society especially those that set the black body as a turf where violence occurs. Mabulu’s work through use of satirical imagery depicts and juxtaposes powerful leaders, masters and mistresses with defenseless victims of greed, oppression, poverty, and systematic racism. Discourse of power, culture and identity arranged in narrative sequences that further exaggerate the already grotesque history of exploitation and its inheritance plays itself in the work. Mabulu is an internationally recognized artist – whilst exhibiting in mental museums and galleries around the world, Mabulu’s thought provoking and critically acclaimed works are often covered by the New York Times, BBC and Al Jazeera to name a few. Mabulu’s work is highly collected internationally by influential museums, galleries, diplomats, businesspeople and moguls alike, celebrities and members of civil society.
“I don’t think that there can ever be another way; does a hunter, face the beast without disturbing and confronting it with a dagger, more especially when the beast attacks. There can never be any other solution but to stand toe to toe with the beast, unless you want the situation to change to where the hunter becomes the hunted. In this case how can an artist find a ‘polite and subtle’ way to address and depict social issues of our time were the human condition is deteriorating because of the style of politics inflicted by those in power that leave them starving and desperate.
VUSI MXOLISI BEAUCHAMP
In his latest body of work titled “Welcome to Barnania” Vusi mixes painting, silk-screening and drawing in order to bring my version of satirical journalism and social critique into the mainstream consciousness. Often controversial and humorous these works decipher the relationship between, politics, the public, perception of current events and governance. In an effort to look at the South African landscape both “inside and outside” Vusi’s work reflects the way in which perception is shaped by the media and subsequently becomes reality. Offering the viewer a glimpse of contemporary local politics as well as the artists lived experience in the urban and rural jungles of Gauteng.
Vusi Beauchamp studied print-making and painting at the Tshwane University of Technology and
Graphic Design at Damelin. His solo exhibitions include Woordfees, Stellenbosch (2016), Paradyse of
the Damned, Solo Exhibition Pretoria art museum (2015), and smoking cheese, Obert Contemporary, Johannesburg (2009). He has participated in group exhibitions at the Cape Town art fair (2016), Twenty: Art in the time of democracy, Pretoria Art museum (2015), protest, hazard Gallery, Johannesburg (2015),
Between Democracy, Constitutional hill (2015), Johannesburg Art fair (2015, 2016, 2017)