#TonyGumCalling presents ‘Ode to She’, a Solo Exhibition at the Christopher Moller Gallery (Cape Town)
Tony Gum, artist in learning, launches her first-ever solo exhibition in Cape Town at the Christopher Moller Gallery, located on a heritage site, in one of the oldest parts in Cape Town, Kloof Nek, Cape Town on Friday, 29 September, 2017. The gallery which was built in 2007 is known to specialise in contemporary arts from the African continent.
Aptly titled, ‘Ode to She’, the solo exhibition centres around Tony Gum’s explorations, discoveries and understanding of the teachings by her elders of what it means to be a Xhosa woman.
Defined by the artist as, ‘a letter to self, a poem and song, a calling’; the body of work launches five (5) days after South Africa officially celebrates National Heritage Day and a month after South Africa wrapped up its celebrations of Women’s Month in August, allowing it to be a glimpse, an encapsulation of the essence of being a Xhosa woman, a human expression of ‘womanhood’.
“I believe in honouring our individual truths,” muses self-titled Creative Director, Tony Gum. “Our ability to pause, reflect, connect and celebrate that which makes each of us whole means we are better placed to recognize and respect this essence in others.
“On my pilgrimage home, many elements were inspiration and reassurance for me, including the body of work titled, ‘A Seat at the Table’ by the musician Solange Knowles. I learnt through this work, I wanted to reiterate the power and representation of Xhosa women, acknowledging their multifaceted roles, complex experiences of self, family and society. So it was important for me that this story be a poem, a song, a letter to She – She, the Being, who understands He/She/Them to be a force, like nature; a person who has been beaten, tried and tested yet is able to rise above it all.”
‘Ode to She’ is presented as an intimate still life; a human encounter with the artist. The work sets a narrative that illustrates a message that as the viewer, you are allowed to depict as your emotions encourage. Gum’s innate desire to learn and to articulate what she has learnt also allows the work to form academic opinion on the subject and further engage that thesis with inclusions of elements such as modern distractions, like smart phones, to extend the story and in a somewhat polite manner, turn the mirror on the viewer to allow them to ask themselves questions such as ‘am I like that too?’.
Tony Gum’s Cape Town solo exhibition, ‘Ode to She’, is a combination of new work and past themes revisited with never before seen visuals. Experience this visual journey first-hand at the Christopher Moller Gallery in Cape Town from Friday, 29th September, 2017 until 3rd November, 2017. The artist will be celebrating this milestone with an ‘All Red’ themed after party on the night, all you have to do is follow the hashtag #TonyGumCalling for details.
Tony Gum is an internationally acclaimed visual activist utilizing various mediums of art such as portraiture representing her dynamic appetite for storytelling in a way that creates accessibility across borders.
Her collections have been exhibited internationally and she is chosen partially because she is able to make one review everyday life and objects extraordinary and worth reflecting on – the appreciation of what surrounds you. Her vision of making art accessible to ordinary people by using their daily objects has inspired many underprivileged people to understand that art is not only for the elite. Her relevance comes from the fact that she is unifying people through art. Her art has an innocence and purity – you simply have to see it to understand it, which creates a personal bond to the work.