Ângela Ferreira: South Facing
South Facing was Ângela Ferreira’s first solo exhibition at a public institution in South Africa. The exhibition included recent and previously unseen work, as well as work commissioned by the Johannesburg Art Gallery in response to the 1989 extension by Meyer Pienaar. The South Facing exhhibiton was the first ehxibition hosted at the JAG since years of closure after the building was damaged. The exhibition was curated by Amy Watson. António Tomás, author and urbanist from the University of Cape Town’s African Centre for Cities, gave the opening address.
7 May – 30 July 2017 / Johannesburg Art Gallery, Joubert Park
South Facing, the title of the exhibition refers to the physical positioning of the Johannesburg Art Gallery by the British colonial-era architect Edward Luytens, Fereirra’s own positioning, living in Lisbon but showing her work in Mozambique and other parts of Africa, and the ongoing impact of colonialism and post-colonialism in the global South.
Ângela Ferreira was born in Mozambique, studied in South Africa, and teaches in Portugal, and thus has strong connections with both Europe and Africa. Her work investigates the complex relationship between the two continents, and the continuing impact of colonialism and post-colonialism in the present. She especially looks at the translation of modernism in the African-colonial context.
The commissioned work for the exhibtion uses the visual history of the construction process, and responds to the barrel vaulted copper roofs in particular, placing these into conversation with Ferreira’s ongoing work on copper mining in South Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Stone Free, 2012, and Entrer dans la Mine, 2013).
‘Buildings,’ says Ferreira, ‘can be read as political texts, and this is what I try to do.’
Ferreira and curator Amy Watson invited the Wits City Institute to partner with the exhibition at the Johannesburg Art Gallery in contributing to a set of discussions and writings around Ferreira’s work as a mode of art practice in ‘critical architecture’. These included WCI Fellows particpation in the Artists’ Walk About of the exhibition. a contribution by Noëleen Murray to the exhibition catalogue as well local engagement as part of the Architecture, Urbanism and the Humanities Fellows Study Tour to Maputo at the Camões Portuguese Cultural Centre in Maputo.