Madiba's Shirt

Gems of the Limpopo

Natalie Knight, owner of the Natalie Knight Gallery in Hyde Park in the 80’s and 90’s will be exhibiting at the Turbine Art Fair (TAF) in Johannesburg from July 13 to July 16, 2017.

She has curated Gems of the Limpopo, which spans many years, with items ranging from antique sangoma medicine containers to Collen Maswanganyi’s modern painted images. Also on show are Nceka (capes worn by Shangaan women) to modern depictions of Shangaan beadwork by members of the Makhubele family.

Collen Maswanganyi, a young sculptor born in Giyane, Limpopo Province, will be showing his quirky, thought-provoking, visually appealing sculptures at TAF.

“Working with Collen, who is half my age, has been a rejuvenating experience”, said Natalie Knight, “After closing my gallery in 1995, I curated shows at JAG, and Museum Africa, which included the work of Collen’s father (the established sculptor Johannes Maswanganyi) When I met Collen I realized that this young man was a talented and innovative artist. Collen has inherited his father’s skill but has the added advantage of being trained at the Wits Technicon where his conceptual skills were honed. Collen and I have worked together for many years now.

I included his work at Wits University and when I was curator on the West Campus and in a tribute to Nelson Mandela, held at South Africa House in London in 2013.

The works on show will include unique beadwork created by the Makhubele family—Billy, his three wives and seven daughters. Billy is an artist and an entrepreneur. After an injury which prevented him from making wire sculptures, he started collecting authentic, rare artifacts of the Tsonga/Shangaan culture.

He and Natalie co-curated an exhibition at JAG called Dungamanzi/Stirring Waters, with Nessa Leibhammer. In addition Billy has modified some of the designs of the Nceka. Using the format of the cloth and beads, the Makhubele’s have created a series of beaded items which tell the story of the new South Africa.

What has Natalie Knight been doing recently? The answer is her Art-o-biography—The Big Picture, which (together with other books she has written) will be on sale at TAF. The striking cover of The Big Picture is based on a poster There’s No Sugar Left by Norman Catherine. There will be special offers on books and posters at TAF.

Natalie Knight
Natalie Knight and Collen Maswanayi