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SDC Visual Arts

Modzi Art Gallery: Marketplace at FNB Art Joburg

Modzi Art Gallery

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FNB Art Joburg

13-15 September 2019

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The Modzi Arts Gallery is a contemporary, conceptual art gallery that works with artists to develop and present new bodies of work in innovative ways. It was established in 2016 with the vision of providing a space for knowledge exchange, experimenting, engagement and dialogue within the visual arts sector in Zambia. In 2019, Modzi Arts moved into a different space and incorporated a the Modzi Arts Gallery within it. The dedicated space is has hosted artist presentations, a film screening and an exhibition.

The aim of the Modzi Arts Gallery is to provide a platform to grow the Zambian multidisciplinary and contemporary art and cultural scene to both local and international audiences. The gallery has increased the visibility and accessibility of the arts within Zambia, while strengthening the professionalization of Zambian artists and the development of new curatorial approaches.

The Gallery works with artists, for a period of three months to a year, while they are in the process of creating pieces for an exhibition. This allows for presentation planning, research and concept development that will inform the work. Research on Zambian art history and context is encouraged to increase the use of these narratives as a reference point.

The Gallery furthermore, plays a major role in the Modzi Arts Residency, where it becomes both workspace and exhibition platform. The residency is a place where the dynamic art, culture and knowledge exchange happens without the constrictions of an academic corset. To achieve this, upcoming national and international artists are invited to deal with contemporary, conceptual questions of interest with reference to Zambian art history. Without the claim of providing answers, artists-in-residency use varying media (painting, photography, installation, video, sculpture, performance) to formulate comments on these questions, pose new questions, raise awareness to other problems and excite contemplation on them.

Modzi Art Gallery has been invited to participate in the Gallery Lab programme during the 2019 FNB Art Joburg fair. The programme is co-curated by Banele Khoza and Nicole Siegenthale and serves as an incubator for emerging galleries as well as space for exploration; to present and test new artists, ideas and business models relevant to the contemporary African arts landscape. We are supporting Modzi Arts through our Regional Arts Programme.

The Modzi Art Gallery exhibition will explore conversation around the contemporary connection and stories that derive from historical and personal narratives. The selected artists are Stary Mwaba, Nomes Dee, David ‘Daut’  Makala, Agness Buya Yombwe, and Aaron Samuel Mulenga.


Stary Mwaba’s work, research and current working process highlight engage with current sociao-political circumstances in Zambia through personal narratives (Petits récits) and archival materials. Mwaba highlights subjects from the Copperbelt region of Zambia who are affected by the past and present role of mining in that region.

Nomes Dee creates a pastel-dazed African future where beings usually cohabit spiritual landscapes imagining them as having transcended at the same time as being present in an imagined reality. Within her work Dee plays with themes of romance and love, sexuality and sensuality.

David ‘Daut’ Makala is a mixed-media artist whose work engages with themes of identity, history and the politics of the black body from the pre- to neo-colonial era.

Agness Buya Yombwe uses a variety of natural and man made materials in her works to begin dialogue around certain societal issues, manifested as taboos faced in Zambia. The images of the snakes play a strong role as the mythology of this animal is diverse and pervasive.

Aaron Samuel Mulenga’s work explores themes of identity, power and mobility. Currently the main focus of his production deals with the concept of transcendence and an awareness or sensation of going beyond one’s usual experience of time, place or being.