South-South: Let me begin again

About

Goodman Gallery Cape Town

Los Carpinteros • Flávio Cerqueira • Elizabet Cerviño • Ângela Ferreira • Carlos Garaicoa • Kendell Geers • Haroon Gunn-Salie • Kiluanji Kia Henda • Grada Kilomba • KutalaChopeto • Paulo Nazareth • Sisipho Ngodwana • Antônio Obá • Rosana Paulino • Wilfredo Prieto • Tracey Rose • Gustavo Speridião

IN THE VIDEO ROOM Maria Thereza Alves • Coco Fusco • Binelde Hyrcan • Thiago Martins de Melo • Susana Pilar Delahante Matienzo

FEATURED PERFORMANCES iQhiya • Elizabet Cerviño • Ângela Ferreira’s Wattle and Daub with vocals by Lizette Chirrime*

Curated by Renato Silva and Lara Koseff

In the second edition of our South-South series, Goodman Gallery presents Let me begin again, an exhibition drawing parallels between artists from the Global South, whose work is situated within and beyond the afterlife of political revolution. The show looks at cross- cultural influence and divergence – both historical and recent – between countries such as Cuba, Brazil, South Africa and Angola, as well as other regions such as Mozambique, and Namibia; featured artists born in or living between these countries or in the diaspora.

Let me begin again considers a paradisal vision of race and class equality, and autonomy from Western domination, championed in the mid- to late 20th century. It is rooted in an intersection and unravelling of ideologies that emerged after revolution in Cuba, the end of military dictatorships in other parts of Latin American and independence in Africa, building up to the end of apartheid in the 1990s. The exhibition explores notions of freedom and control; artists revising and recalling historical moments, and challenging instability, yet sometimes embracing flux, in ways that are divergent from, but still linked to, political movements.

In July 1991, Nelson Mandela, president of the African National Congress (ANC) at the time, and Fidel Castro, then president of Cuba, spoke together on the same platform in Havana. Mandela was on a tour of Latin America, but his visit to Cuba marked an important moment for both world leaders. This interaction reflected Cuba’s mission of internationalism in the Global South; its support of African independence and involvement in the Angolan Civil War, which Mandela attributed as directly leading to the unbanning of the ANC. “The decisive defeat of the aggressive apartheid forces [in Angola] destroyed the myth of the invincibility of the white oppressor,” Mandela said. Both Mandela and Castro spoke of the emancipation of the poor and the rightless. Castro exclaimed persistently, “How far we slaves have come!” On reflection, these were distinct leaders from regions emerging from and moving towards different socio-political realities. But they were also converging on a conviction of equality; finding common ground in evoking the power of what Ernesto Che Guevara called – in reference to the strength of the masses – the human tide. Yet at the time, while victories such as free and quality health care and education were celebrated, the disappointments of transition where becoming palpable in Cuba – which in the early 1990s was deep in economic crisis due to the dissolution of the Soviet Union. And in Brazil, profound yet often concealed wounds were still only very slowly being revealed. Following Cuba, Mandela visited Brazil in August 1991, in efforts to seek continued sanctions in support for the end of apartheid. While there Mandela stated, “I have the feeling of being at home,” but was taken aback by the nuances of racial politics, and the latent and often clouded racial discrimination that lingered despite the transition into democracy.

Rereading this meeting of minds now – 25 years later, with dreams further deferred, tenuous diplomatic breakthroughs between enemy states, dissident voices, state control, unfinished projects, presidents on trial, lingering mass inequality and institutional racism, as well as looming neo-colonialism, is revealing and disheartening. While the world seemed to stop after the death of Mandela – his critics emerging mainly from South African – it was at odds over Castro’s more recent obituary, and his very polarising legacy. In a time when the Western world is again seeing the rise of the extreme right, the Global South appears to be grappling with the ideals, victories, as well as conflicting narratives and setbacks of the revolutionary left. Within this context of emerging economies and racially diverse societies, seems to be a need not only to move forward, but to revise and reconsider where we came from, to recover what has been lost.

This show comes 20 years after pivotal exhibitions such as Memorias Intimas Marcas – initiated by Fernando Alvim, in collaboration with Gavin Younge and Carlos Garaicoa, which looked at the residue of trauma caused by the Angolan Civil War – and the 2nd and last Johannesburg Biennale, curated by Okwui Enwezor, which unusually for the international art world at the time included many artists from the Global South. Now, this edition of South-South reflects on how the ideologies that were being embraced in the 1990s have unfolded or collapsed in quieter, contemplative moments, but are also being reignited or challenged in new instances of heated rupture.

Let me begin again offers a deferential plea to unearth the forgotten; rethink the misrepresented or misunderstood; confront the seemingly irreversible; tackle unfinished projects and traverse unending beginnings. Featured artists embody a variety of divergent socio-political stances and, in some cases, markedly or seemingly apolitical ones. But in each instance is the sensation of – or a call for – reinvention, renewal or adaptation, from historiography to processes of working.

Let me begin again follows The Poetry in Between: South-South, the first edition in the series in 2015, which focused on Brazil and South Africa in particular.

  • About Everything, but not about anything

    Flavio Cerqueira

    About Everything, but not about anything, 2016

    Bronze and vinyl on wall

    96 x 30 x 41 cm [ sculpture ] Text [ Variable Dimensions]<...

  • Conga Irreversible

    Los Carpinteros

    Conga Irreversible, 2012

    Single-channel video

    11:51 minutes

    Edition of 0

  • Time, Trade and Surplus Value

    Maria Thereza Alves

    Time, Trade and Surplus Value , 2004

    Single-channel digital video

    4:23 min

    Edition of 0

  • barbara balaclava

    Thiago Martins de Melo

    barbara balaclava, 2016

    Stop-motion animation

    14:37 minutes

    Edition of 0

  • Não,

    Gustavo Speridião

    Não, , 2014

    Nanjing, acrylic paint and acrylic lacquer

    210 x 310 cm

  • Paisagem Russa

    Gustavo Speridião

    Paisagem Russa, 2014

    Nanjing and varnish on canvas

    210 x 408 cm

  • Cambeck Voitures

    Binelde Hyrcan

    Cambeck Voitures, 2011.

    Singel-channel video

    2 min 30 sec

    Edition of 0

  • On the Line 3

    Haroon Gunn-Salie

    On the Line 3, 2016

    Pair of shoes bronze plated

    46 x 32 x 18cm

    Edition of 3

  • Suspuro en Nicho (Sigh in a niche)

    Elizabet Cerviño

    Suspuro en Nicho (Sigh in a niche), 2017

    Paraffin wax

    Dimensions variable

  • En la Mente de Dios (In the Mind of God)

    Wilfredo Prieto

    En la Mente de Dios (In the Mind of God), 2017

    Cow hide

    Variable

  • The Kiss

    Tracey Rose

    The Kiss, 2001

    Lambda print

    126 x 121.5cm / 129 x 127.5cm

    Edition of 6

  • T.W. Batons (Pentagram)

    Kendell Geers

    T.W. Batons (Pentagram), 1994

    Police Batons

    152 cm x 160 cm

    Edition of 3

  • Valla Resistir, La Habana

    Carlos Garaicoa

    Valla Resistir, La Habana, 1991 - 2012

    Edition of 3

  • Pregação,

    Antonio Oba

    Pregação,, 2016

    Rusty nails

    100cm x 100cm

  • I told you...

    Flavio Cerqueira

    I told you..., 2016

    Bronze and books

    Variable dimensions

    Edition of 3

  • Cosmic Austral Magazine

    Kiluanji Kia Henda

    Cosmic Austral Magazine, 2013

    Four dibond-mounted digital prints

    29.7 x 42.0 cm

    Edition of 5

  • Pencil test – for me stay here

    Paulo Nazareth

    Pencil test – for me stay here, 2017

    Single channel digital film

    Edition of 5

  • Galinha D Angola

    Paulo Nazareth

    Galinha D Angola, 2017

    Single channel digital film

    Edition of 5

  • Re-territorialización

    Susana Pilar Delahante Matienzo

    Re-territorialización, 2016

    Single-channel video

    Edition of 1

  • On the line (street version)

    Haroon Gunn-Salie

    On the line (street version), 2017

    Rotation Urethane castings from silicone shoe molds. Castings painted to resemble green patination of...

  • On the line

    Haroon Gunn-Salie and Aline Xavier

    On the line, 2016

    Single-channel video

    2 minutes

    Edition of 5

  • Installation picture [South-South: Let me begin again]