Joseph Awuah-Darko will be in residence at NIROX during which he will be preparing towards an exhibition from the 10 October – 10 November 2023 in NIROX’s Covered Space.
Awuah-Darko's artistic practice blends contemporary ideas with traditional techniques, evident in his engagement with the cathartic Ghanaian kente weaving method of Ashanti origin which has existed for centuries. Awuah-Darko's vibrant tapestries often depict Afro-futuristic creature-like 'sentinels,' a motif recurring throughout his work. During his time at NIROX, he will deepen his exploration of woven philosophy within a more sculptural context. Within the delicate balance between beauty and pain, core themes of depression, existentialism and the pursuit of happiness will perform Awuah-Darko's material choices, creating a poignant dialogue.
Awuah-Darko is also the recognised founder and director of the artist-led Noldor Residency program in Accra which supports emerging artists from the continent and its diaspora.
Stefanie Koemeda’s residency is supported by and held in partnership with ProHelvetia Johannesburg. During her stay, she plans to extend her practice of taking clay imprints of found structures and forms from which to build sculptures. At the same time, she will continue her painting and drawing, experimenting with ways to combine all three mediums. ‘My interest here at NIROX lies in the archeological sites around the residency and the speculations that surround their role and purpose, as well as in contemporary terra-human sites of interaction, such as mines,” she explains. This interest extends her thinking about the ‘material legacy’ of contemporary human societies along geological grounds. Her practice asks what kind of sediment we will leave behind, and ‘which objects will reveal our existence in the distant future. ‘The ground, the soil, and the terra of my workplace interest me and how we humans interact with them,’ she adds. ‘My focus lies at the interfaces between humans and terra, the machinery involved, and the infrastructures resulting from this co-existence.’
To learn more about the artist’s research interests, read her essay “Fast Twin”, published by the Villa-Legodi Centre for Sculpture in the first issue of FORM Journal.
Gabriele Jacobs will join NIROX and the Villa-Legodi Centre for Sculpture as an artists in residence from 3 October – 13 November 2023. During his stay, he plans to create unfired works from foraged clay, to work on charcoal and ink-based drawings, and to create some wooden sculptures from fallen trees in the region. In addition, the artist will occupy the Centre's project space as a working studio, displaying pre-existing works such as Cerberus's den alongside works developed while in residence.
Interdisciplinary artist Io Makandal is in residence at Nirox from 8th August to 8th September. During her residency she will focus on a site specific environmental response to the current water crisis in the area of the Cradle of Humankind and Nirox grounds with a series of durational sculptural interventions. As an eco-feminist with a practice concerned with urban ecologies, these interventions will be extensions of her ongoing research in and collaboration with effective microbes (EMs) and ecological matter to effect a process of transformation and healing. During her stay she also plans to create a new body of wall and installation based works for an upcoming solo exhibition later this year.
Photographer Brett Rubin is in residency at Nirox from 8 Aug - 8 Sept. During the residency Rubin will open an exhibition of damaged film photographs on fabric in the Nirox covered space (running until 01 October) called Alter Nature.
Brett Rubin (b. 1982) is a South African photographer predominantly exploring the notions of portraiture and landscape, utilising various art historical methods and references while refining contemporary perceptions of the medium. His practice is concerned with challenging certain conventions within photography through the use of substrate, form and content.
A central focus for Rubin is an interest in the deconstruction of landscape, the histories that have shaped it, and the way the figure traverses it in a post-colonial and post-modern context.
Central to my current research, “Freedom as erotic practice,” is a consideration of African Spiritual technology and its observances. I am concerned with thoughts on the ephemeral as coded, significant, and deserving of specific practice and protocol. The work that I would like to create is rooted in the sonic and vibrational. I’d like to constitute the sonic as liminality observed; a deliberate threshold of transition. In keeping with observance I also ask: how can I consider the ephemeral and subjective as tangible and objective? I’m keen to unravel my unknowing and reconsider modes of African spiritual practices and their associated technologies. If "technologies" encompass "progressive advancement" or "advanced knowledge systems or codes," then those connected to the spiritual and esoteric realm are compelling for study and commemoration.
While I’m not particularly focused on technology (understood both colloquially and as a structural form), I am fascinated with systems; more specifically language. If sound is a system of codifiers and signifiers, both quantifiable and otherwise, what does it attach itself to and what appears consequently?
Jeremy Wafer began his residency on 16 May, during which he intends to work on a group of eight to ten works, to be included in an upcoming exhibition at Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, that opens on 6 July 2023. The works will be made using various materials, including rope, cast cement, burnt timber, bitumen, blankets, cloth, sticks, mine dump sand, oil, and steel. “While the sculptures will be quite diverse in size, form and material,” explains Wafer, “they are linked I think by a common feeling of ‘somber-ness’ or darkness of mood. By way of example, I am planning a sculpture consisting of a number of bags of cement stacked on a steel trolley. The bags of cement will have been rendered inert, unusable and damaged by being left outside in the weather to get wet. Another work will consist of a pile of folded blankets painted with an aluminium bitumen roof sealer.”
Farieda Nazier began her residency on 22 May. During her stay, she plans to develop a site-specific work, to be installed at NIROX, titled Cleave the Earth Asunder (2023) from unfired and press-moulded terracotta, glaze, and wood, intended to “deepen the exploration of dehumanisation, whereby humans were (and are) considered property – either as objects, fauna or flora.” As per Nazier’s proposal, the project “considers the notion of ‘womxn as flora’ and begins to unpack the impact of this on the gendered body. The womxn’s body objectified as a potential life-giving receptacle, is explored here through the metaphor of pod and seed. The interchangeable images of seedpods and bodily orifices (yoni, vulva, anus and lips) create a visual of violent ‘cleaving’ or splitting apart. However, the violence here is disrupted by the notion of the body as a powerful conduit for creation, ecstasy and transcendence. The complex nature of cleavage is considered here as unfettered, wholly natural and universal: violently creating both pleasure and pain.” The installation will be accompanied by a performance by Nazier on 24 June 2023 titled The Spectacle Lure, a screening, and a discussion between Shonishani Netshia, Victoria Collis-Buthelezi, and Dee Marco.
Sudeep Sen [www.sudeepsen.org] will be the ‘NIROX writer & artist-in-residence’ from March 1 to May 31, 2023. During that time, he will carry out research and writing assignments,explore the interface between writing and his photographic practice, collaborate with local musicians, artists and designers, participate in writing and related workshops with local Universities, deliver talks and give readings, and feature as a central figure in the‘WORDS Literary & Arts Festival’ to be held in the NIROX Sculpture Park. He will also participate in workshops and tutorials with youth, through NIROX hosting of the Columba Leadership Academy and NIROX extensive programs with private and public schools throughout Gauteng. Additionally, he will a ‘visiting writer/artist’ at possible partner venues that NIROX are either aligned to or working on: www.farmhouse58.com, www.satyagrahahouse.com, www.dorp.co.za, https://boschendal.com/.
During his residency, Richard Forbes will explore his intimate relationship with what he calls ‘raw and tame materiality’ by creating new works in stone in the Centre’s Workshop. Works-in-progress will be shown simultaneously in the Project Space, accompanied by thoughts on paper and works that proceeded this period.
During his residency (1 – 28 February 2023), Inga Somdyala aims to create a site-specific land art installation, making use of the Education Hub to dedicate some time to writing more consistently. As with his more recent residencies elsewhere, he intends to collect soil from NIROX and the surrounding area, to be used in his work, and to bury a few pieces of canvas, thus making Gauteng the third province in which Somdyala has buried canvas since 2021.
Mário Macilau is a multidisciplinary artist and activist, best known for his photographic work and he is considered one of the “key figures” among the new generation of Mozambican artists. He was born in 1984 in Maputo, as do many children, working hard to help support his family in what were difficult circumstances in Mozambique. Macilau is currently living and working between Maputo, Lisbon and Cape Town and he has travelled extensively for his work and he has lived and worked in British Columbia in Canada, Barcelona, Madrid, Miami, New York, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Lagos, Nairobi, La Paz, Nairobi, and Bahia for many years. Over the years Mário Macilau has developed an art style that evokes emotion through his unique choice of subjects and his ability to connect with them.
The studio installation explores the poetics of hospitality and omission. On the one hand, hospitality - a sacred duty - is an utter opening to the unknown other whose name or story won’t be asked before three days of giving have passed. Omission, on the other hand, can be construed as a gap, a failing, the presence of an absence, which might demand remedy. But it can also be the opening condition of hospitality and the silence that is kept around the name or other defining information may point to a richer field of possibilities.
A thorn-tree bearing sponges and a leaning bottle of bleach, an inverted tin roof (which is a ν, the first letter of Nathalie’s name in Greek), rakes that cling to each other in precarious balances, a window full of questions: they all speak of the extraordinary conditions of the place in which they become present.
As the latest recipient of the Edoardo Villa Extraordinary Award for Sculpture, Johannesburg-based artist Walter Oltmann will participate in a two-month residency at NIROX, making use of the Centre’s Workshop to begin experimenting and creating his latest body of work. The residency will be accompanied by an exhibition in the Project Space, aimed as a platform to showcase works-in-progress alongside preexisting works, preparatory and complete drawings, as well as the work of other artists who work in a similar mode, to varying ends. In 2023, the Centre will host a second exhibition highlighting the outcome of Oltmann’s residency.
Anna Boldt & Mathias Weinfurter
Anna Boldt and Mathias Weinfurter realised the experimental research and artistic project Miradas Borrosas (Blurry Gazes) in the Colombian village of Ambalema. The starting point was the footage that the Google company had taken on site six years earlier for its online service Google Street View (GSV). So far, the residents had no knowledge of their existence and public accessibility. The village has no permanently installed internet access. After an extensive engagement with the inhabitants about the confrontation with the photographs, their experiences and impressions, a participatory intervention and a performance was realized on site. The interventions resulted in a film that was shown as part of a spatial installation.
During their residency at NIROX Foundation in December 2022 and January 2023, Anna Boldt and Mathias Weinfurter will continue the work to enable a comparison of impressions. The chosen destination is the village Nietgedacht, 40 km from the centre of Johannesburg. The starting point are again the GSV photographs of the location which were taken in December 2014. For the artistic expression, on the other hand, they will deal with the site-specific conditions. In a free creative realization, a portrait of the respective place and its inhabitants will be created in relation to their representation online. The open character of the project allows for social choreographies.
For the realization of the project Anna Boldt and Mathias Weinfurter cooperate with the NIROX Foundation, whose headquarters and sculpture park are located on the UNESCO World Heritage Site Cradle of Humankind, only 22 km away from Nietgedacht.
These paintings build on an ongoing series titled ‘Ethnology for Genocide: the History Paintings.’ The series focuses on the violent entanglement of African cultural heritage with western anthropology, ethnology, museology, religion, and psychology, particularly the so-called punitive expedition orchestrated by the British against the Benin kingdom in the late nineteenth century, which culminated in the destruction and looting of Benin’s cultural art objects.
The paintings explore the politics and poetics of restorative culture, cultivating a speculative history through the re-imagining of traditional myths from West Africa, at their intersection with European invasion. This approach is premised on the understanding that history painting was specifically a genre classically reserved for Europeans, and here that genre is subjected to an African enquiry. My enquiry is therefore directed at the appropriation and exploitation of some elements employed by classical Western painters. This includes the role of painting as political/religious propaganda (as seen in neo-classical times), and compositional devices such as the grand scale and ‘altarpiece.’
Through myth and satire, these works recall the classical (yet veiled) co-conspiring of the church and museum to enable the theft of African cultural heritage. It also alludes to our collective confusion after re-emerging from a devastating international pandemic, as a hymn and metaphor for the imagined re-emergence of African cultural objects from Western captivity.
Driaan Claassen and Catherine Ash will continue their ongoing collaboration as part of a residency at the Centre, making use of the electric and wood-fired kilns to produce a series of sculptures made out of ceramics, glass, and wood, that grapple with mental health. Their proposed works foregrounds the use of wood as a mediator between glass and ceramics, making reference to the elements as a way to both ground and connect the internal and external, physical and mental, aspects of the human anatomy; a connection which is also apparent in the case of trees and neurons that take on a Lichtenberg or dendritic-type pattern.
In August 2022, NIROX Foundation facilitated a commission for new work by Mary Sibande to occupy the ‘Pope Garden’ at Nyandungu EcoPark in Kigali, Rwanda. Her residency makes provision for the production of this work, exploring various avenues related to the current trajectory of her practice and the site through the figure of the High Priestess, a character that Sibande has employed since 2016. ‘She always comes around when things are murky or I’m unsure,’ explains Sibande. ‘She brings good fortune. By throwing her tarot cards in the air she can predict the future, but you have to ask her. For the current body of work, I decided to go small. It started with the soldiers. It’s great to make grand colossal works. With those, the whole body moves. But there’s an intimacy to the smaller works that also allows me to include more details.’
During his residency, Lawrence Lemaoana will develop a work titled I’m Tired of Marching (2022). The title and text of the work germinate from a 1966 speech by a dripping-in-sweat Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., wherein the orator echoes the setting of fatigue in the fight against injustice and the threat to life suffered by him, but also black people in general. Luther King Jr. bravely indicates “I’m tired of marching for things that should have been mine at birth”. The work echoes through time and space to become an installation of a mass of imagined figures carrying placards, protesting, and marching. Anchored in place, the figures hold placards that, when fragmented, are illegible, thus utilising the technique of ‘anamorphic imaging.’ Scaled to average human height, the artist uses a piston-like technology to mimic the movements of an arm as it raises and lowers a banner. On one hand, the automotive function of Lemaoana’s proposed work could be read as a supplicant to the kinds of fatigue expressed by King; a way of freeing up the individual. Yet the proposal could also be read as a critique of the government’s failure to address the concerns of the working class, and the efficacy of protest within the context of a neo-liberal economy, in which the workforce is rapidly being replaced by advances in new technologies.
Scultpor Kambezunda Ngavee began his first month-long residency at NIROX; the result of a collaboration between NIROX Foundation and the National Art Gallery of Namibia, Windhoek. Prone to working in stone, particularly marble, Ngavee’s art is often anthropomorphic in form. His current body of work explores indigenous hunting methodologies that require that one connect with the animals and ask permission before going to hunt.
During his stay, Ngavee will produce new work from locally-sourced stone, to be included in the forthcoming exhibition Indifference; a satellite exhibition of Good Neighbours that will be held across the Covered Space and Screening Room. The exhibition will open to the public on 16 July.
Jonathan Freemantle will return to NIROX to make a new body of work, comprising paints that the artist creates using the rich iron-oxide deposits — red oxide, yellow ochre, terre verde — collected in the hills surrounding the Residency Studio. The pigment will be ground with water and gum arabic, collecting the gum from the indigenous Acacia tree and making works that explore the language of his recent ‘Spirit Matter’ series.
Founded on an intimate understanding of painting and art history, Freemantle’s work explores the relationship between his body, time, and the earth, each of which serve as materials and as inspiration.
NIROX Foundation, in collaboration with !KAURU Contemporary Art from Africa, the Villa-Legodi Centre for Sculpture, and the Vhutsila Arts and Craft Centre, are thrilled to announce the launch of Noria Mabasa: Shaping Dreams, a residency and exhibition that has been generously supported by the Department of Arts and Culture.
Held in the Residency Studio, it includes 38 pre-existing works in both clay and wood, produced between 2004 and 2022. The exhibition forms the first-leg of an ongoing project that will culminate in a larger exhibition of both pre-existing and new works produced during her residency at the Villa-Legodi Centre for Sculpture later this year.
Leo Lanussol (Argentina) hails from the legendary kitchen of Francis Mallmann, he takes residence with Bernardo Corti at NIROX. Together, they co-create rustic cuisine using exceptional local produce from the Cradle of Humankind...Where mankind mastered fire.
Elisa L. Iannacone is a Mexican-born photographer, cinematographer, foreign correspondent and cultural activist, Elisa Iannacone, will be in residence at NIROX from MARCH 2022, expanding upon her existing body of work THE SPIRAL OF CONTAINMENT. During her residency at Nirox, Elisa will be working as both artist and community activist with a multi-disciplinary team of therapists, art practitioners, architects, legal practitioners and community representatives, building a body of work that will be on exhibition during her residency and into the annual NIROX WINTER SCULPTURE EXHIBITION.
Carla Busuttil and Gary Charles
Carla Busuttil and Gary Charles have been in residency at NIROX since 16 February 2022. During their stay, the artists collaborated with dancer Thulisile Binda and poet / playwright Napo Masheane to produce a new body of work that incorporates painting, dance, automated music, poetry, and machine learning.
For the work produced at NIROX, Busuttil and Charles draw on AI's machine learning capabilities and algorithmic systems used in similarly everyday platforms such as Spotify to expose the biases built into such technologies. Despite the hype, they highlight the instrumental role that such tech plays in ‘reifying the complexity of the past,’ creating a ‘data-driven hyperextension of a colonial instinct’ to homogenise that which exists outside of its immediate orbit. ‘To be machine readable,’ explains Charles, ‘the entire archive is flattened and compressed into a retrievable symbolic, mathematical map,’ thereby flattening time and creating a vacuum in place of social and cultural memory.
(b.1969, Bloemfontein) is a Johannesburg-based artist working at the intersection of drawing, painting and sculpture. A long career as a producer, director and educator across artistic disciplines has led her to a dedicated studio practice that is rich, confident and prolific. Probing the metaphors of “grounding” and “groundlessness,” Barry’s work explores the politics of love, desire, care and repair. She situates her practice at the interface of the personal and the public, the emotional and the intellectual, and the bodies, grounds, materials, desires and gestures which give meaning to these relationships.
She is currently an artist-in-residence at the NIROX Foundation and has a solo exhibition opening at the NIROX Sculpture Park in January 2022. Barry will present a newly commissioned sculptural work Night Crumple at Spier Light Art in March 2022. Later in the year she will spend time at Tswalu Kalahari Reserve as an artist-in-residence.
(b.1975, South Africa) LIVE BEES! is an interface of art, research and advocacy for the environment, drawn from Nicholas Hester’s ongoing fascination with bees. Nicholas is an artist and beekeeper. A drive to look below the surface, using technology in service of research and craft, is the thread of connectedness between this exhibition and earlier work. The project began at the 'Association for Visual Arts' during its first manifestation and continues at NIROX and project58 in the Cradle of Humankind. The residency will include the installation of an apiary of Eco Hives designed by the artist. The work at the residency will emanate from continued research work with the bees and will be exhibited at Nirox at the end of October.
(b. 1990, Johannesburg) received her introduction to photography at the Market Photo Workshop, in Johannesburg, in 2009 and completed the Advanced Photography Programme in 2011. She obtained a Diploma in Fine Arts from the University of Johannesburg in 2014 and is currently doing her Masters in Fine Arts at the Witwatersrand University. Notable awards include the Grand Prix Images Vevey 2021/22, Paulo Cunha e Silva Art Prize, 2020, Camera Austria Award, 2019 and the finalist of the Rolex Mentor & Protégé Arts Initiative, 2019.
Sibusiso ArtIs3 is strongly influenced by his spiritual beliefs and his fascination with abstraction. He has an interest and love for the ‘imperfect’ and uses his art as an expression of his emotions, unconstrained by the mind.
His spiritual influence is evident in his work and in many ways, he views himself as a vessel for something greater - which is seen in his confidence in his stroke-making.
His exhibition; ‘I trust my stroke’, was completed during his NIROX Residency in late 2021.
His work has caught the attention of key figures in the South African art world, such as Ashraf Jamal, who writes about him in his upcoming book ‘Abstraction and Figure’.
(b.1956, Murehwa) is a Zimbabwean contemporary sculptor and artist based in Murehwa, Zimbabwe. Following the completion of his studies in Britain during the 1980s, Tapfuma has gone on to build an extensive and diverse portfolio that spans from the African continent, Venice, Cuba and to the United States.
His residency will continue until mid-September, culminating into an exhibition at ‘The Covered Space’.
Wessel Van Huyssteen
Wessel Van Huyssteen is a full-time artist, educator, lecturer, curator and film-maker based in the Free State. He is particularly interested in the landscape and the concept of non-place and how to engage these phenomena in the age of the Anthropocene.
His current work is a response to the civil unrest which took place in South Africa during July 2021. By merging banners with a small wetland and its surrounds, he plans to create a habitat covered in frost cloth that will read as a negative space that announces both its absence and presence.
In response to the civil unrest, he remarked:
"I also wondered why people are so quick to protest against this kind of looting, but the looting of natural resources, a far more serious threat to the lives of humans, are globally treated with far less urgency."
St John Fuller
(b.1974, South Africa) is an artist and professional photographer who explores a variety of mediums that either provide commentary on political ideologies or seek to transform an individual’s perception of an object and ultimately initiate a process of self-reflection. His current work, the panoptica dome, is a 3,5m geodesic dome comprising 32 panels filled with multiple camera obscuras that envelope the viewer in a disorientating ‘other’ world of light and colour, inducing contemplation and renewal. The artist intends for the dome to invite the user to step out of time and embrace a sense of not knowing. All we need to do is to embrace this initial sense of unease, sit down quietly and contemplate.
(b.1989, Zimbabwe) is an emerging artist and sculptor known for his poetic use of discarded materials as a means to express the intricate nature of contemporary life. His current work, the first of its kind intended for outdoor display, makes use of a combination of found objects and shoes that collectively suggest the complexity of nature.
(b.1994, South Africa) is an award-winning, emerging artist living and practicing in Johannesburg. Using unconventional found objects, such as toothpicks and bottle caps, in conjunction with concrete and other industrial materials, Soal negotiates structural impacts on urban living and reflects on ecological concerns
THE BOOK OF EDEN
presents a spiritual philosophical revelation that addresses political, economic, environmental and daily living topics of great relevance in our modern world. The book oﬀers spiritual understanding as well as personal and societal guidance for a hopeful future.
Yolanda Mazwana (b. 1996 – Eastern Cape, SA) is a self-taught visual artist based in Johannesburg, currently specializing in painting. Her work is centred around mental illness, popular culture, phobias, relationships and storytelling and her style being described as an amalgamation of abstract expressionism, neo-expressionism and symbolism. She currently lives and works in Johannesburg.
RESIDENCY SPACES AND SERVICES
MUSIC ROOM / STUDIO
Accommodation consists of a two bedroom double-story house facing north overlooking the Sculpture Park, with a large double-volume studio, mezzanine work space, lounge, dining and entertainment facility. Adjoining the house is an open-fronted sculpture workshop and a second studio.
A separate self-contained 2-bedroom cottage facing west overlooks the water, sheltered from the afternoon sun by aged Bushwillows.
Residencies are fully serviced with meals prepared by Maria and her team in the house kitchen, good 'rural' wifi, and assistance with sourcing materials, building and making to good standards by our management, ground staff and resident carpenter.
A short walk across the lawns of the Park is the Coolroom Complex, a large multi-functional workshop/studio, a Screening Room with cinema seating, a small studio and curator’s office.
The Sculpture Parks’ 30 hectare garden is shared with the public on weekends and with pre-arranged visitors during the week. Residents’ privacy is protected, but it is in the nature of the Foundation’s purpose to encourage engagement.
The restaurant, ‘and then there was FIRE’ is open to the public. Residents are encouraged to enjoy its active program of music, performance, culinary-school, yoga, talks, poetry, fashion and related activities; to be part of Bernardo and Manu’s passion for food and the exulted life we hope to bring to South Africans and visitors from afar.
Residents have access to the adjoining 1000 hectare Khatlhaphi Private Nature Reserve, a wilderness of hills and valleys populated with a diversity of local game and birdlife.
RESIDENTS' WORK AND ACTIVITY
There is no fixed work imperitive. Residents are encouraged to interact with each
other, local arts and other communities; to collaborate and create compelling
experiences. In particular we press residents to experience and contribute to the extraordinary work of the Columba Leadership Academy whose residency is hosted in the park, instilling values, hope and inspiration to leading youths from the most underserved communities of South Africa. NIROX’ reach into local life provides opportunity for engagement with museums, institutions, galleries, academia, artists and other communities.
Residents are required to leave an artwork or other suitable record for the
NIROX Foundation Archives.
APPLICATIONS FOR RESIDENCY
There is no call for applicants nor fixed application process. If you are interested please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will begin a conversation. It will help us if you include your own preferred version of a CV, artist's statement, portfolio of work, biography, or the likes along with a short text on why you are interested, and have questions you would like us to answer.
Since its inception, NIROX has hosted more than 300 artist’s in residence.
The Cool Couple
Ingrid de Kok
Katharien de Villiers
Auke de Vries
Patti Gaal Holmes
Dylan T Graham
Lyle Ashton Harris