londi modiko

‘At any given moment, I’d cut up stuff like clothes and dolls to make other things,’ says Londi Modiko of her childhood foray into the world of art. ‘In my first year of high school I took art and, even though I wasn’t good at it, I loved learning about art history, drawing and painting.’

And so the seeds of Londi’s curatorial career were planted, growing into degrees in Fine Art from the Durban University of Technology and the University of Johannesburg, and eventually taking root at the FNB Joburg Art Fair, David Krut Projects and Joburg’s Goodman Gallery, where she was a gallerist for six years. Now, as co-director and curator, Londi heads up the collaborative exhibition space that sees local art and design leaders Whatiftheworld and Southern Guild bringing their talents to Rosebank’s Trumpet building.

‘I’m enjoying the challenge of being involved in this groundbreaking exhibition space and looking forward to encouraging people, especially of colour, to engage in and hopefully start collecting art and design from the continent. There is so much talent here,’ she says.

londi modiko

‘I’m a lady’ by Mary Sibande

What does your work entail at Whatiftheworld and Southern Guild Joburg?

Facilitating the growth of artists’ careers by doing studio visits where I give advice on the creation of their artworks. At the gallery, I encourage people to enjoy, engage and invest in art and design. My work days are spent talking to gallery visitors and students about the pieces on show, proposing the pieces in writing to collectors, museums, institutions, and press and art enthusiasts, as well as daily gallery operations.

What draws you to specific works of art?

Artworks that are bold appeal to me – works that speak sincerely of subjects that reflect our society, triumphs and tribulations. I also have a great interest in artists who push the envelope with the manipulation of materials, such as Mary Sibande, Rowan Smith and designer David Krynauw.

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‘My People’ by Banele Khoza

What art would you buy with R5 000?

Banele Khoza’s colourful ink drawings that explore gender issues.

R10 000?

One of Durban-based Selloane Moeti’s clay (ubomvu) and acrylic paintings.

R50 000?

A Simphiwe Ndzube painting. His work addresses South African labour politics pre- and post-apartheid and he uses 3-D materials on 2-D surfaces.

R500 000?

Alfredo Jaar’s light box work ‘Gold in the Morning A’.

R1 000 000?

I’d commission Nigerian sound artist Emeka Ogboh to make a social commentary sound piece in Johannesburg, and with the change, I’d get a Mohau Modisakeng Endabeni photograph.

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‘Untitled (Metamorphosis 10)’ by Mohau Modisakeng

Which artist’s work should our readers buy right now?

Banele Khoza.

A new artist you have your eye on?

Selloane Moeti. She’s so unapologetic about her voice and I find her usage of reed clay in her paintings interesting.

Who is currently big on the African art scene?

Mohau Modisakeng.

Which local artists are doing well on the international market at the moment?

Nicholas Hlobo and Turiya Magadlela.

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‘Ukuvithika 2’ by Turiya Magadlela

What’s your favourite piece of art in your home?

A Johannes Segogela wooden sculpture of a couple that resembles my husband and me.

Whose work would you buy now as an investment?

Nicholas Hlobo.

And a piece purely because you love it?

Awol Erizku’s ‘Ask The Dust’ car installation. It’s just a really cool work!

Who is your favourite artist?

Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Visit whatiftheworld.com and southernguild.co.za.