04 Aug Consciousness | Obert Jongwe | 24 September – 3 October 2022
Consciousness – The World Today
24 September – 3 October 2022
Opening Saturday 24 September 2022 at 14h00
Official opening by Dr Willie Bester 14h30
Artist Walkabout Sunday 25 September 12pm – Please book below
Early 2020 arrived with a global health crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic. People’s lives, and the global
socio-economic landscape was turned upside down.
This ushered in a paradigm shift. Restrictions placed on activities we took for granted as “normal”
came into play — travel was banned, lockdowns were introduced and many families were split across
Scientists, researchers and pharmaceutical corporations still race to come up with solutions to deal
with this disease, as nations still wrestle with the demand for (or resistance to) what’s on offer — all
while variants keep spreading. Thankfully, Africa’s nations have joined forces to give themselves
more buying power to acquire vaccines and critical medical equipment.
The COVID-19 outbreak has impacted every single one of us — governments, communities,
individuals. The health sector has been overburdened and challenged to the point of near-collapse in
most countries. Economies have been weighed down. Leadership has been faced with impossible
decisions in dealing with the situation. Confusion and depression amongst stricken people has
become a pandemic within a pandemic. Constantly being faced with death and disease has been
hard on all social hierarchies. No one can safely predict what tomorrow holds.
Given the huge impact of the pandemic, it seems fitting to create a body of artworks which capture the
mood of events and stand as historical record. These paintings are therefore all themed around sociopolitical
perspectives of events as they unfolded, and the diverse reactions to the pandemic as
displayed by governments, health departments and the public.
The works were produced between March 2020 and March 2022
This collection comprises 7 paintings, functioning as socio-political commentary. Mentored and
influenced by Dr Willie Bester, Obert Jongwe annually produces a series of his personal reflections on
the current socio-political landscape.
As curator of the collection, I find this year’s reflections refreshingly positive — despite the
overwhelmingly traumatic nature of actual events. Comprehensive, it reflects on life from the start of
2020, through to mid-2021. Though the body of work documents an international phenomenon (life
under the pandemic), it does so through a uniquely African lens — focusing on the interrelations
between southern Africa and world superpowers.
We put trust in our leaders, and the two works featuring our current president (the honourable Mr Cyril
Ramaphosa) manifest the hope our nation has in his guidance and capabilities during this
extraordinary era. Ideology aside, these works give shape to the complex relationships that exist
between the man on the street and elected leadership. In these works, we all matter — we are all
affected, and we all have the choice to rise up and be counted. – Jozua Rossouw
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