If you’ve been to one of our Skattie Celebrates parties you will be familiar with the concept. We select an emerging artist we are excited about, put their work in a gallery space for one night only and have a moerse jol around the whole exhibition. We’ve done this before with Laura Windvogel and Unathi Mkonto, both young artist we are so proud to see going on to big tings and really just carving out a niche for themselves in this here tough art world.
Next week Thursday, at the AVA Gallery, Cape Town, we will be hosting yet another Skattie Celebrates where we are presenting the work of Thania Petersen. A downloadable magazine we have created in association with ARTAFRICA will be available should you want to get to know more about Thania and her work. Part of it was exhibited earlier this year at the Cape Town Art Fair and we are thrilled to be presenting someone whose work we believe is important because it speaks to the very important notion of identity.
Comprising two sets of work, the exhibition explores her Cape Malay identity, first, in a twin series of portraits, representing the inspirations and transformations of Cape Malay adornments over centuries.
“I trace the historical trajectory of forced removals from the point of entry, the sea, to further inland,” she says in her artist statement.
In her exploration of her Cape Malay heritage, Thania started off with a visit to the Indonesian Embassy, where she went to research the costume of the Indonesians brought to South Africa through the slave trade. Through her research at the embassy she learned that her direct ancestor, Imam Abdullah Ibn Qadhu Abdus Salaam, known as Tuan Guru, and the Father of Islam in South Africa, was a prince from Tidore in the Trinate Islands and a descendant of the Sultan of Morocco. That’s quite something, right?
For Mali and I, it’s been exciting engaging with her, thinking and conversing about our own identities and how history has denied a lot of us the knowledge of where we come from and, most importantly, the real story of who our ancestors were because, trust, the slavery, barbarian vibe just doesn’t wash with us. The reductionist history we learn at school leaves a lot to be desired!
So, if you are in Cape Town next week Thursday, come have a jol with us, enjoy the work and, most importantly, engage! 18h30, 30 July. Join the facebook event page here to check out more details on the party and our deejay list.
By Sandiso Ngubane