Normal is no more. Every facet of our society has been touched and implicated by the Covid-19 pandemic in which we find ourselves. The vulnerable have been exposed.
Artist, Bambo Sibiya, has created a body of work in reaction to the unattended weakness and unheeded warnings of the “normal” that has failed us.
His characters’ gazes are unwavering, disallowing the audience the freedom to escape the reality of “black lives matter”, gender-based violence, absentee fathers, global warming, unemployment, pressure put on males to repress their emotions, the global fear of contracting a deadly virus, violence towards homosexuals, and the extensive political control that was exercised over our society this year.
The universal tropes that the artist explores in these seven works are so immense, so all-encompassing and so in urgent need of addressing that we are encouraged to pause here, to slow down tiger, and to take in the erratic year that has been both the longest and shortest time.
The repercussions of the global pandemic are still reverberating through our everyday lives and so this exhibition functions as a platform for active and changing voices, and requires a certain stillness and sense of consideration from the audience.
The artist’s reflections on current affairs in these works range from the confusing positivity and negativity that emerged from 2020’s unique lockdown circumstances – he touches on both the humanity and barbarity that we witnessed throughout this year and how the information overload put us on a bewildering emotional roller coaster.
While there is a resilience and dignity in his portraits, Sibiya poses the question – “If we are unable to escape ourselves, surely our only resolution rests in us taking action?”
These seven works challenge us to consider these vast discourses and how we can be part of the solution.
Slow Down Tiger is on until 3 October at Everard Read Johannesburg.
See more of his work here.
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