Leading up to November, when the Gallery’s Edwin Lutyens building is officially 100 years old, JAG will be filled with exhibitions and a series of installations. The curatorial team will strive to exhibit as much of its acquisitions as possible, and fill the walls exclusively with work from the gallery collections.
The centenary celebrations will centre on six exhibitions showcasing pieces from JAG’s extensive permanent collection. South African art from 1940-1975, an exhibition of “the new masters” co-curated by Antoinette Murdoch and Tharien Strydom, celebrates the best of South Africa’s mid-twentieth century art and will include artists such as Gerard Sekoto, George Pemba, Ernest Mancoba, Alexis Preller, Cecil Skotnes, Walter Battiss, Maggie Laubser, Dumile Feni, Gerard Bhengu, Nel Erasmus, Ruth Everard, Katrine Harries, Fred Page and Peter Clarke, as well as works from influential Schools like Rorke’s Drift and Polly Street. Encore: Public Favourites is an exhibition selected by JAG’s curators consisting of some of the Gallery’s best loved works. Another exhibition to look forward to, Pre-Raphaelites and Their Circle, curated by Sheree Lissoos, will delve into JAG’s Foundation Collection to showcase work by Pre-Raphaelite artists and their contemporaries – including one of the Gallery’s most prominent works, Regina Cordium by Rossetti. An intriguing and more contemporary show curated by Tara Weber, Moments in a Metropolis, aims to highlight, celebrate and interrogate JAG’s defining context – the city, through works on paper, including printmaking and photography. Artists include: Sam Nhlengethwa, Ernest Cole, David Hockney and Richard Estes.
The JAG collection of African Traditional work is widely respected, and will also be on display. The exhibition Pastoral Pieces: Significant African Objects from JAG’s historical collections, curated by Prof Karel Nel and Philippa van Straaten, will showcase significant pieces from all of the sub-collections of the African Traditional collection, including the most recently acquired Maritz Collection.
Finally, and bringing everything bang up to date, is Digital Underground – an exhibition which will fill the entire Meyer-Pienaar gallery in the basement. Curated by Musha Neluheni, it will focus exclusively on electronic and digital work. Artists to see in this exciting contemporary show includes Mohau Modisakeng and Donna Kukama.
The curatorial team sees the centenary celebrations as an opportunity to inject much-needed energy and positivity into the JAG space itself, and its immediate environs.