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blank projects: WILHELM SAAYMAN - The Comforter | KHAYA SINEYILE - Abahananasi Abangcwele - 22 July 2014 to 9 Aug 2014

Current Exhibition

22 July 2014 to 9 Aug 2014

blank projects
113-115 Sir Lowry Road
Cape Town
South Africa
T: +27 21 462 4276
M: +27 72 1989 221

Wilhelm Saayman, Detail of One Day You'll Be All Alone And That's OK (2014)
Oil on paper, 70 x 100 cm (framed)

Artists in this exhibition: Wilhelm Saayman, Khaya Sineyile

The Comforter

22 Jul. - 09 Aug. 2014

"We have all stood on a dark beach at night and wondered about the lights flickering in the distance. If we went there, how would we be received? Would we be safe? Will things be better than what they are here?

These seven paintings are about the transients of our society: migrants, outsiders and drifters. These individuals live their lives on the fringes where they are compelled to pretend and assume identities that are not theirs. They seek out and frequent marginal spaces where they can transact and mingle. Or just find comfort in the solitude of this liminal place, where the land gives way to the sea.”
- Wilhelm Saayman, 2014

"I create work that speaks about the horror of urban existence, albeit with humour and irony. I look for magic in the mundane and I don’t shy away from questions of mortality and morality. The results are funny, violent, disturbing, surreal, playful and startling. My paintings and drawings recall sketches found in the back of teenagers’ school exercise books, film storyboards, graphic novels and the etchings of George Grosz and the Chapman Brothers. At once sensitively artful and apparently artless, these works give vent to the private thoughts that polite society compels us not to speak".

"In the last year I've shifted from drawing to oil painting and also started producing larger format works. This a major progression and one that I'm relishing. Painting is an incredible joy, being able to convey narratives in this manner is liberating to me."
- The artist quoted in 'Wilhelm Saayman' by Chad Roussouw, 2011

Wilhelm Saayman was born in Robertson near Cape Town in 1962. His first solo exhibition was at the Association for Visual Arts in 1990, and his most recent solo shows were at GALLERY AOP in 2012 and Erdmann Contemporary in 2013. His work has been acquired by the Johannesburg Art Gallery and the Iziko South African National Gallery. Saayman lives and works in Johannesburg.


Abahananasi Abangcwele

22 Jul. - 09 Aug. 2014

It is impossible to be in any of South Africa’s many townships on a Sunday morning without spotting the ubiquitous uniform worn by members of the Wesleyan Methodist church’s mothers union; a uniform dominated by the bright red jacket which signifies the blood of Christ, worn with a black skirt symbolizing sin, and a white hat signifying the purity of the woman. These women are commonly known as oomama bebhatyi (literally, "the mothers of the jacket" or "the jacketed mothers"). If you listen closely, you may also catch some of the men say “Oomama bebhatyi bayathakatha. Umkhonza njani uNkulunkulu?” (loosely translated as, “the women who belong to these mothers unions are witches. How do they serve god?”), a statement that tells of a belief among some that the women who belong to these mothers unions also practice witchcraft and are therefore hypocrites, presenting holy façades with their red jackets whilst dabbling in evil practices behind closed doors.

Khaya Sineyile explores this idea of hypocrisy in a series of paintings depicting these 'oomama bebhatyi'. The women are depicted holding owls, wearing shoes that are too big for them and clutching knives – all images that, according to the artist, allude to acts of witchcraft. These paintings are executed by Sineyile's assured hand with a rawness that contrasts with the cartoon-like outlines; a device which removes the figures from their ground and introduces an element of playfulness to the otherwise loaded subject matter.

In this body of work, Sineyile examines and comments on the clashing and merging of traditional South African culture and Christian beliefs. Of central importance to the artist is the telling of the story about faction-fighting for positions of prestige in the churches; including the use of witchcraft as weaponry in these fights, mutilation and the ritualistic use of body parts in witchcraft.

Sineyile was born in 1983 in New Crossroads, Cape Town and lives and work there. He has had no formal art education, but attended the Arts and Media Centre (AMAC) from 2004 to 2005 and was selected as a residency artist at Greatmore Studios in 2009. He has exhibited in numerous group shows, both locally and internationally, and his work is represented in private and public collections, including the Spier collection and The New Church Museum. His first solo exhibition, Rewind, was held at the Association of Visual Arts in 2012.

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