Goodman Gallery Projects at Arts on Main presents a new show by Cape Town based artist network, Gugulective. Titled Ityala aliboli/Debt don’t rot, the show is a conceptual confrontation of the economic crisis in South Africa, which the artists assert – while exploring the legacies of colonialism and apartheid as well as the disappointment of democracy – exponentially precedes the global recession of the past few years.
The Gugulective, since its inception in 2006, has negotiated the boundaries that continue to fragment South African society. The collective is made up of a group of young artists, musicians, writers, DJs, rappers and poets active in Cape Town’s eastern townships. Current members include Ziphozenkosi Dayile, Athi Mongezeleli Joja, Ayanda Kilimane, Kemang Wa Lehulere, Khanyisile Mbongwa, Dathini Mzayiya and Unathi Sigenu. These cultural practitioners proclaim that the collective was borne out of a need for intellectual and creative
spaces on the periphery of the mainstream art world and for the past four years have primarily been working and exhibiting in a local shebeen called Kwa-Malmli’s in Gugulethu. Reimagining the shebeen as an exhibition space, the Gugulective have persisted in having shows in their own neighbourhood rather than being pulled into the centre of town.
It seems fitting that the Gugulective, in their debut solo show in Johannesburg, exhibit at Arts on Main. Situated in City and Suburban – a mostly distressed inner city district where exclusion from economic advancement is palpable – Arts on Main is an award-winning development that has uplifted the area through cultural projects and spaces. This notion of cultural development reflects Gugulective’s pursuit of using and promoting the arts as an instrument towards social change through the platform they have created at Kwa-Malmli’s Shebeen.
Using their multi-media approach of a combining print, installation and film, Gugulective will take over the Goodman Gallery project space, ensuring that movement within the gallery requires careful manoeuvring and observation. The motif of people queuing – a poignant one in South Africa – as well as the old South African Rand notes and mousetraps will communicate how current society has to pay the debt of the previous regime and how the masses become mice in the gigantic capitalistic economic system. Both the installation and video work will revolve around the idea of entrapment and attempts of freedom and emancipation.
The Gugulective has collaborated with a variety of groups from high school students in Cape Town and in Berlin, to local artists, poets, filmmakers and musicians. To date the collective have curated three exhibitions at Kwa-Mlamli’s Shebeen in Gugulethu. The collective has participated in numerous major shows including From Pierneef to Gugulective (for which they were included in the title of a show featuring over 700 art works) and Dada South both at the Iziko South African National Gallery, SPace at Museum Africa and US at the Johannesburg Art Gallery and Goodman Gallery. They have also exhibited abroad in shows in Germany and Spain.