The winner of the FNB Art Prize was announced at an FNB JoburgArtFair event on 15 August, and the honours went to Cape Town-born artist Haroon Gunn-Salie, whose work challenges difficult ideas about power in South Africa.
Gunn-Salie, who now joins the ranks of previous winners such as Peju Alatise, Nolan Oswald Dennis, Turiya Magadlela, Portia Zvavahera and Kudzanai Chiurai, will present an extended version of his groundbreaking installation work ‘Senzenina’ at the fair as part of the prize proceedings.
‘The installation – envisioned as a reflection space – transports the viewer to the site, inside which is an immersive soundscape presenting a schematic recreation of the scene using archival audio and composed elements. The soundscape includes calls for the mineworkers to disassemble peacefully; the fortification of the surrounding area and entrapment of the workers by police; an anti-apartheid freedom song lamented by the mineworkers moments before live ammunition was discharged; and blasts from the mine recalled by low-frequency sonic vibrations of the surrounding landscape emanating from an outcrop of granite boulders on the site,’ a statement from the fair explains.
Aside from his consciousness-changing exhibitions, Gunn-Salie made headlines back in 2013 when American rapper Sean Combs, known as P Diddy, famously bought one of the artist’s works at the ArtBasel MiamiBeach exhibition in Miami. The sculpture took the form of a triptych of mirrors emblazoned with ‘Turn the other way’, based on the life story of a resident forcibly removed from District Six and who told her story as part of the exhibition.
FNB JoburgArtFair runs from 7–9 September at the Sandton Convention Centre.
Humbled to participate in the struggle against forgetting @newmuseum #Senzenina #RememberMarikana Senzenina (2018), raises questions of multinational and police complicity casting a group of seventeen life-sized hunched and ghost-like figures that seem to cower past the viewer in a display of surrender, incarnating the Marikana massacre, the most lethal use of force by South African security forces against civilians since the 1960s. The mass catastrophe took place on August 16, 2012, when the South African Police Service opened fire on a crowd of striking mineworkers in the Wonderkop sub-district of Marikana. Unionized miners demanded a wage increase at the Lonmin platinum mine and had been protesting for a week prior to the incident, with several casualties occurring even before the massacre occurred. In total, police shot and killed thirty-four, left seventy-eight seriously injured, and arrested two-hundred-and-fifty mineworkers. The state inquiry absolved key political figures accused of having a hand in the events leading to the massacre, with families of the slain miners still seeking reparations, attesting to the irreparable damage caused but not atoned for by the South African government or the company responsible. Gunn-Salie used police footage of the protesters at the precise moment before police opened fire, also used at the inquest to prove the protest’s peaceable assembly, to cast and memorialize the thirty-four slain in a sculptural graveyard. The sculptures are accompanied by a soundscape schematically recreating the scene from archival audio; including calls for the mineworkers to disassemble peacefully; the fortification of the surrounding area and entrapment of the workers by police; an anti-apartheid freedom song lamented by the mineworkers moments before live ammunition was discharged; and blasts from the mine recalled by low-frequency sonic vibrations of the surrounding landscape emanating from an outcrop of granite boulders on the site. Team: Team: @jannous.aukema Simon Elvis Bonase, Moreblessing Chaiwatura, Herbert Dube, Gavan Eckhart, Shirley Gunn, @setlamorago_mashilo @alinex_____ #haroongunnsalie