By Stanley Karombo
JOHANNESBURG, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- An acclaimed exhibition Making Way by contemporary artists based in Johannesburg, South Africa and China, which features China as an economic power house and its relations with the African continent, is running at the Standard Bank Gallery, in Johannesburg, South Africa until March 28.
The curator of the exhibition Ruth Simbao, an Associate Professor of Art History & Visual Culture at Rhodes University, said the exhibition could be used "as a metaphor for the making of socio-political, communal or personal progress."
She added, "This progress is not necessarily linear with a clear, triumphalistic goal ahead, but can simply be about movement, about progress beyond stagnation."
She also said this is the first time that internationally acclaimed Chinese contemporary artist's work had exhibited in South Africa.
The artists include: Wu Junyong, Chen Qiulin, Maleonn and Qin Ga. And the local artists are: Lebogang Rasethaba, Gerald Machona, Michael MacGarry and James Webb deal directly with China-Africa relations.
While Rasethaba and MacGarry consider economic and trade ties between China and Africa, Webb and Machona play with stereotypical perceptions and constructions of "foreignness" in China and South Africa.
Zimbabwean born and South Africa based artist Kudzanai Chiurai and Shanghai photographers, Maleonn, are not new to controversies. Their work questions world leaders' strategies, and urges the young leaders of tomorrow to face the present day with a new vision.
Wu Junyong's animation videos mine the absurdity of power, greed, monotony and futility in contexts that lack change. Chen Qiulin grapples with dramatic economic and urban reconstruction in relation to the development of the Three Gorges Dam.
Interestingly, the Chinese and isiXhosa translations of "making way" (kailu) and ukuvul'indlela respectively -- suggest the notion of opening up the road.
In a number of works, artists such as Hua Jiming, Thenjiwe Nkosi, Gerald Machona, Dan Halter, Dotun Makun and Vulindlela Nyoni challenge the ways in which societies attempt to close down opportunities with "Sinophobic" and "Afrophobic" attitudes as new paths and global patterns of movement open up.
The artist also succinctly grapple with the global transformation, and the theme of walking or corporeally scraping along the ground -- is vividly captured by the works of Doung Anwar Jahangeer, Hua Jiming, Qin Ga, Athi-Patra Ruga, Randolph Hartzenberg and Brent Meistre -- embeds the action of Making Way in personally, culturally and locally intimate ways.
The exhibition also reflects the political, economic transformation happening in the two countries: South Africa and China.