Gerald Machona / Greener Pastures / 2018


Goodman Gallery Cape Town
4 October – 3 November 2018

Stories of mobility are strongly linked to the individual and collective search for greener pastures. This yearning for a better life, place or situation is the conceptual thread that runs through Gerald Machona’s second solo exhibition with Goodman Gallery. In this show, Machona explores past and present manifestations of this pursuit and utilises an intersectional approach to navigate the various ways in which interlocking systems of power impact and overlap with individual and collective aspiration towards greener pastures.

Induku enhle igawulwa ezizweni is a Zulu proverb that expresses the desire and appreciation of searching for love in faraway places or nations,’ writes Machona in an artist statement about this body of work. ‘Journeying for survival in a search to better understand oneself or even for love is not a foreign concept in tracing nomadic or migration patterns in Africa.’ But due to a past marked by segregation, South Africa has been ‘shaped [by] a culture of mistrust and suspicion amongst its citizens’. The unfortunate effect of this has been the outbreak of ‘xenophobic’ attacks against fellow Africans in the country in recent years; a reaction Machona suggest might be described better as ‘Afrophobia’.

Through his work Machona goes about dispelling these cultural stigmas by revealing stories of cross-cultural, transnational unions, space sharing and family raising. Drawing on his own experience as a Zimbabwean of Shona heritage marrying into a Zulu family, Machona reveals how a tradition such as the gift-giving ceremonies of lobola undermine essentialist concepts of gendered, national and ethnic identity. However, these traditions have remained deeply entrenched in patriarchal norms, often at the exclusion of contemporary struggles for gender equality. Machona expresses these ideas through his signature use of decommissioned currency fashioned as transnational floral arrangements as well as photographic works which depict the process of negotiating marital traditions across borders.

According to Machona, ‘the very notion that people can be ‘naturalised’ into a family, ethnicity or as citizens of a country through marriage contradicts any purist notions of national or ethnic identity rooted in [indigenousness]. What it does point out, however, is that identities are in flux and are constantly navigating across national and ethnic boundaries’.

In Machona’s case this liminality exists in his navigation of marital traditions across Zulu and Shona customs through the boundaries that separate Zimbabwe and South Africa. Such transnational cultural experiences reveal how the receding economic and social significance of boundaries, among African nation states, has in actual fact heightened interconnectivity between people.


    Gerald Machona

    BRICS, 2018

    Glass, copper and decommissioned currency

    Work: 65 x 25 x 25 cm

  • 7 Colonial Powers

    Gerald Machona

    7 Colonial Powers, 2018

    Glass, copper and decommissioned currency

    Work: 65 x 25 x 25 cm

  • Poinciana (Madagascar)

    Gerald Machona

    Poinciana (Madagascar), 2018

    Glass, copper and decommissioned currency

    Work: 50 x 15 x 15 cm

  • Live long and prosper

    Gerald Machona

    Live long and prosper, 2018

    Epson Hot Press on perspex

    Frame: 136.5 x 136.5 x 3.5 cm / Work: 118 x 118 cm

    Edition of 10

  • Love in a time of Afrophobia II

    Gerald Machona & Sethembile Msezane

    Love in a time of Afrophobia II, 2016

    Epson Hot Press on perspex with gold gilded frame

    Frame: 136.5 x 189 x 3...

  • Influx II

    Gerald Machona

    Influx II, 2014

    Digital collage on Epson Hot Press with gold gilded frame / Digital collage on Epson Hotpress

    Frame: 33.5 x 56.5 x 3...

  • What Lies Beneath The Land

    Gerald Machona

    What Lies Beneath The Land, 2018

    Decommissioned currency on board, Gold gilded fame

    Work: 136 x 103 cm Frame: 153.5 x 120 x 7 cm

  • A coup not a coup

    Gerald Machona

    A coup not a coup, 2018

    Decommissioned currency with gold gilded frame

    Work: 136 x 185 cm Frame: 143.5 x 200.5 x 7 cm

  • Your Silence Will Not Protect You

    Gerald Machona

    Your Silence Will Not Protect You, 2018

    Epson Hot Press on perspex with gold gilded frame

    Frame: 136.5 x 136.5 x 3.5 cm / Work: 118 ...

  • We inherit the sins of our Forebearers

    Gerald Machona

    We inherit the sins of our Forebearers,

    Decommissioned currency / Glass, sand and decommissioned currency

    Work: 27 x 11.5 x 11.5 cm...

  • Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland

    Gerald Machona

    Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, 2018

    Glass, copper and decommissioned currency

    Work: 65 x 25 x 25 cm

  • Keep calm and untie the noose I

    Gerald Machona

    Keep calm and untie the noose I, 2015

    Digital print in pigment inks on cotton rag paper

    83 x 123 cm

    Edition of 5

  • Terraform

    Gerald Machona

    Terraform, 2018

    Decommissioned currency, copper wire, marble dust

  • Untitled (Sethembile Msezane)

    Sethembile Msezane

    Untitled (Sethembile Msezane), 2018

    Epson Hotpress on Perspex

    Work: 118 x 79 cm

    Edition of 10

  • Installation picture [Gerald Machona / Greener Pastures / 2018]