Sibusiso Duma Love and Tradition
2785 E Foothill Blvd, Ste 100
Pasadena, CA 91007
We are pleased to present an exhibition from the Simchowitz Collection. This series showcases contemporary art with a special focus on Africa in our Los Angeles spaces. Simchowitz Collection exhibitions deepen our longstanding efforts to support contemporary art and artists globally.
For his first solo exhibition in the Unites States, “Love and Tradition,” Durban, South African-based artist Sibusiso Duma presents acrylic-on-canvas paintings, the majority featuring his characteristic repetitive dot method to render the rural landscapes in which his subjects reside. In the works in this show, we see a range of everyday activities— a man holding his baby up high; another with his back to the viewer, clutching a suitcase, en route to his journey; a woman tending to her garden. Complexities also arise: we see a shirtless man with a hand gun in his underwear band; a woman carries a man on her back who in turn holds a glass bottle in This Is My Drunkard, 2020; another woman tenderly bids farewell to a man sporting a military uniform in Married to a Soldier, 2020.
Duma does not shy away from emotional tenor in the works in this show. In The Power of a Woman, 2020, we see a mother holding her baby on her back and a bag of goods on her head, as she solemnly makes her way forward amongst rolling, dotted hills. Both the woman and the dog trailing behind are followed by deep, black, evocative shadows. A man and woman in customary Durban garb (animal skins, geometric patterns) and jewelry (chunky beaded bracelets and head bands) hold hands as they walk at dusk in the titular Love and Tradition, 2020. The saturated greens of the landscape around them create a pulse around the devoted couple, much like the smitten duo of Drunk in Love, 2021.
Duma is also not afraid to employ a solid bit of humor. In one painting, a shirtless man holding ceremonial armor and sword stares intensely at a woman wearing arms bands and a polka dotted skirt. The title: Look at Me in the Sexy Way, 2021. Finally, Duma gifts us with a taste of the surreal, as in Ngiqonywe Ebusuk (Night Girlfriend), 2020, in which we see the backside of a man in baggie clothes and a bandana, his hand on the derrière of a woman wearing a mini skirt and high-heeled boots. The twist: she’s a skeleton. Traditions abound in Duma’s work, in clothing, objects, and acitivities (such as the Izintombi dance referenced in a 2019 painting with the same title); as does the intricacy, difficulty, and also joys of contemporary Durban life.
The color palette of the work of Durban-based painter Sibusiso Duma (b. 1978, Durban, South Africa) mirrors that of the South African National flag— blue, green, red, yellow, and black. Fittingly, the artist’s paintings also center South African-specific imagery, mostly portraits of either a single person or a handful of individuals, often wearing traditional garb, holding ceremonial objects or armor, and riding animals such as elephants. His signature paint technique— small, repetitive brightly colored dots upon a monochrome field— stem from indigenous methods of pigment application in masks, sculptures, fabrics, and more. Duma infuses these traditional elements in his work with notable contemporary qualities, through titling (e.g. Pension Day, 2022), clothing (such as high heels or athletic jackets), or scenarios (young boys playing with toy guns as they watch the cows stroll by). In Duma’s work, we see the traditional life of today— updated, in all its glorious color.
Duma has had solo exhibitions at Bordeaux House, Franschhoek, South Africa; Phezulu Gallery, Durban, South Africa; ABSA Gallery, Johannesburg; Artspace, Durban; Association of Visual Arts, Cape Town; and African Art Centre, Durban, 2002. He has had group shows at SMAC, Johannesburg; Jac Forbes Gallery, Malibu; Mezzanine Gallery, Durban; and artSPACE Berlin. His work is included in major international art collections, including The Campbell Collections, Durban; Museum Services, Pietermaritzburg; Bruce Campbell-Smith Collection; Cape Town Art Bank of South Africa; ABSA Bank; Tatham Art Gallery; and Pietermaritzburg Killie Campbell Collection.