Art Insure

Barnard Gallery


Alastair Whitton
Goggles, Archival pigment on UV museum glass ,


Ryan Hewett
Enlighten, Exhibition invitation ,

SEE LISTING True Colours

Ndikhumbule Ngqinambi
True Colours, Oil on canvas , 900 x 700

SEE LISTING Witdraai I, Kalahari, South Africa, September 2012

Lien Botha
Witdraai I, Kalahari, South Africa, September 2012, Photographic print ,

SEE LISTING Crossing the Line

Robert Slingsby
Crossing the Line, Exhibition Invitation ,


55 Main Street (off Kildare Road), Newlands, 7700

Hours: Monday to Friday 09:00 – 17:00 | Closed Saturday, Sunday and public holidays


Alastair Whitton at Barnard Gallery

Barnard Gallery, in conjunction with MOP6: Cape Town Photography, Film & New Media Biennale is pleased to present  'Glimpse', a solo exhibition of photographs by artist Alastair Whitton.

Drawing on cultural  sources including literature, history, art and the Bible, Whitton is known for conceptually  engaging work that is essentially  concerned with the ways in which we recognise,
recall and navigate the world around us.

Whitton’s recent project  'Glimpse'  is primarily a series a photographic ‘portraits’ of objects and landscapes from a personal collection gathered and carried over an  extended period.

These images function as commemorative markers and explore the notion of the photograph as memorial. The evidence of a life; this collection of photographs chronicles aspects of love and
loss, memory and geography and is essentially a meditation on transience and the passage  of

21 October 2014 - 04 December 2014

Ryan Hewett at Barnard Gallery

Barnard Gallery is proud to present ‘Enlighten’ – an exhibition of recent paintings by Ryan Hewett. A year after ‘Genesis’ - his acclaimed debut solo show at the gallery - Hewett is back with a body of work echoing the brutal beauty of his earlier portraits, but displaying a greater fluidity that
accompanies his growing confidence in the medium.

These works are fewer but larger in scale and they are more intense in their interrogation of self and other. With his densely loaded palette knife, Hewett scrapes and moulds his forms, caressing, bruising and bleeding the canvas, swirling between the associations of figuration one usually makes with portraiture and the sheer expressive energy of mark-making.

As ‘Enlighten’, the title of the exhibition, suggests, Hewett’s unfolding trajectory has become increasingly spiritual, complex and paradoxical. For him, portraiture has never been about external likeness; it is about turning the inside out and the articulation of an emotional journey of self-exploration and discovery.

03 September 2014 - 14 October 2014

Ndikhumbule Ngqinambi at Barnard Gallery

Barnard Gallery is proud to present True Colours – a solo exhibition by Ndikhumbule Ngqinambi. As the idiom suggests, the definition of true colours is to reveal the reality beneath the mantle of appearance. In this show, Ngqinambi deals with divergent discourses around truth, memory and history, as conveyed through the flag, one of history’s most semantically loaded emblems.

Denoting identity, belonging, unity and power, the flag represents the honour of a nation. Its defilement constitutes an act of sacrilege against the state it represents.  But a flag is also a signal to a vehicle or driver to take heed, slow down or stop. Using the flag as his thematic fulcrum against the backdrop of volatile narratives of oppression and liberation, Ngqinambi explores and interrogates the motives of governments in hoisting the flag for reasons other than national unity.

Ngqinambi’s personal, political and professional biographies are located within South Africa’s segregation and liberation histories. Born in Cape Town in 1977, a year after the Soweto Student Uprisings, he grew up in a conflict zone where the puny arsenal of stones and rubble was pitted against police nyalas and the military might of the apartheid state. In the absence of formal art tuition, Ngqinambi’s talent was nurtured at the Community Arts Project, one of the country’s indispensable cultural centres addressing the cultural and educational imbalances wrought by Apartheid. He witnessed the dawn of a new era and the promise of an equal and just society. Ngqinambi’s career has also benefited from the fecund fruits of cultural freedom heralded by South Africa’s political, social, economic and cultural reintegration into the global arena. He recently completed a residency in Stuttgart, Germany, during which he engaged with cultural activists in a febrile, multidisciplinary environment where intellectual discourse and critique melded with conceptualism, mixed media, performance art and installation. He feeds off these contemporary influences but ultimately his art remains grounded in the tradition of painterly figuration.

Ngqinambi’s epic scenes straddle the topography of cultural and visual history. His imagery evokes associations with the figurative traditions of 18th and19th European Romanticism, particularly the genre of sublime painting, as well as early 20th century Soviet socialist realism. His work also displays the influence of South African township art and protest art of the 1980s – the latter characterised by the strident imagery and saturated hues of posters carried aloft by anti-apartheid activists and liberation cadres during the height of the anti-apartheid struggle.

His canvases are animated by his trademark imagery: marching crowds depicted against precipitous backdrops, illuminated by celestial skies rendered in sweeping kaleidoscopic hues. Titanic, tumbling forms enact melodramas of both illustrative simplicity and baroque complexity. Through extremes of scale and recurring visual tropes Ngqinambi’s imaginary landscapes dazzle while presenting a damning critique. For, unlike the agitprop executed by his revolutionary forebears, Ngqinambi’s paintings do not celebrate the nationalistic idealism inherent in traditional flag symbolism. In much of his work the flag is depicted as a sullied symbol, as, literally, a rug being pulled from under the feet of the nation, or a carpet under which the messier bits of ideological supremacy are swept. The flag becomes, therefore, a parody of liberation movements that have lost their heroic lustre, as well as a metaphor for corruption justified through ontological arguments around entitlement and ownership. Although his references also extend to skewed power relations in the Middle East and beyond, Ngqinambi’s principal focus is on the specifics of South African history, politics and symbols.

In a profound sense, the South African flag symbolises an apogee in the quest for democratic ideals by a nation whose brutal past has been vanquished by the triumph of justice. But apartheid’s meta-narrative has been supplanted by another dominant narrative that celebrates some emblems and monuments as the primary bearers of truth, while shrouding or negating others. Ngqinambi’s art reinforces the ambivalent relationship between past and present, as well as competing histories of truth. It raises the vital questions of how to acknowledge the past without being limited by it and how to negotiate the paradoxes of change without resorting to propaganda or oppression. He does this, neither through polemics nor cultural theory, however, but through reflections on individual and collective memory.

In True Colours, Ngqinambi refigures the role of the flag within a broader discourse revolving around the distortions of power. Produced against a backdrop of escalating kleptocracy, the lingering memory of the 2012 Marikana massacre and South Africa’s volatile national elections, this show speaks, not of pride, but of betrayal through the excesses of gravy trains and ongoing violence. Ngqinambi’s images of conspicuous consumption and crass materialism, convey a dystopian vision of the unbalanced relationship between government and governed, ruler and subject. As such, his paintings issue a warning about flagging morale, sagging morality, suppressed or untold narratives and the lessons history reveals, yet which, at our peril, we choose to ignore.

Hazel Friedman, May 2014.

22 May 2014 - 10 July 2014

Lien Botha at Barnard Gallery

Lien Botha’s work has gained a reputation for being enigmatic, for provoking questions, and, in the last resort when words fail, for being poetic. Viewers in the South African context, habituated to the strong tradition of socio-political documentary photography that dominates the photographic realm here, are tested by the apparent elusiveness and inscrutability of her work.

However, if one reviews Botha’s production over time, there are certain consistencies that reiterate throughout her apparently diverse interests. Certain motifs recur, certain formal considerations are central, and limited colour palettes appear regularly to provide clues to her central concerns.

Scanning her writings on her own work, a persistent project of loss and the capitulation of memory is evident. Phrases such as 'keepers of lost collections… the stain, the damage to the beloved, pages removed' (‘Library Hours’ 2004) and 'an attempt at binding the distance' (‘Moundou’ 2008) provide an indication of memory as embedded in, or marked on paper and cloth.

Photography, as indexical of whatever was in front of the camera when the image was taken, traditionally carries the stain of its moment. A purveyor of the disintegrating instant, even in the digital age, it is a medium that Botha, as many commentators have noted, uses to create taxonomic collections of images. She does not often document the publicly significant, but creates a private inventory in which her images/objects do not easily reveal their place in a specific narrative. Rather they seem to act as an index or even co-ordinates of her travels across the country that give a sense of her bearings, rather than fix location.

‘Yonder’ is no exception. The very title of the exhibition indicates distance. It implies that something is being pointed out, in the direction indicated, but that it is ‘over there’, beyond our direct reach or view. Botha asks her audience to mentally join the dots, to attempt to make sense of what we see much as we might try to make sense of our own lives which come to us in fragments of encounters, part of a larger whole which we cannot quite discern.

(excerpt from Virginia MacKenny's essay 'Beyond What One Can See')

Accompanying the exhibition there will be a signed, limited edition, cloth bound, full colour  publication which includes essays by Virginia MacKenny and Sonja Loots.

21 March 2014 - 01 May 2014

Robert Slingsby at Barnard Gallery

'A trip to the Katanga province of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) can only described in the most neutral of adjectives, as "harrowing". Driving through this fecund land, visibly bursting with natural wealth, I witnessed the mutilation of its body, its lungs clogged, heart gouged out, carved up and consumed. I saw its arteries severed and its life-blood seeping through a desiccated skin.

'Crossing the Line', documents a similar travesty afflicting the region. Robert Slingsby’s locus might be different to that of the DRC: the remote Omo River in southwest Ethiopia. But his overarching narrative is of the wholesale theft of Africa by rapacious multinationals aided and abetted by governments profiting from, to quote Slingsby, "these parasites in paradise."

Despite the end of colonialism, the interplay between economic, political, and social forces continue to drive European, American, African and Asian interests to establish a stake in the resource-rich region. This frenzied scramble for Africa has succeeded through the declaration of exclusive commercial claims to particular territories, including exclusive control of waterways and commercial routes throughout the continent. In an insidious form of neo-imperialism, multinationals have imposed excessive tariffs, committed tax evasion and perpetrated fraudulent practices that rob indigenous communities of the essential fruits of land and labour.

In 'Crossing the Line', Slingsby not only pays homage to the tribes under threat. Through a multimedia installation that audio-visually documents the brief sojourn of Slingsby and his wife Janis amongst the Mursi and Karo, he fires a visceral salvo at the consequences of policies championing progress at all costs. And it is Slingsby's portraits that provide the most tragic portents of catastrophe. They are images of dignity, reflecting nothing of the upheaval that will afflict their lives. But whether in Ethiopia, or elsewhere in Africa, or indeed wherever indigenous communities dwell; without effective intervention they face a future of poverty and dispossession through ancestral lands falling into foreign hands.'

Text by Hazel Friedman: Into Foreign Hands

06 February 2014 - 13 March 2014