A THOUGHT-PROVOKING DIALOGUE IN THREE EXHIBITS
by Suzanne Volmer
For its first presentation of the fall 2015 semester, Wheaton College is hosting a three-part exhibition that provides a timely look at South African contemporary art viewpoints in relation to an American artist’s statement.
The Beard Gallery is featuring “Unsettled: One Hundred Years War of Resistance,” photography by South African artist Cedric Nunn, alongside “Johannesburg in Print,” a selection of prints made at David Krut Workshop (DKW), a fine art printmaking facility located in Johannesburg, South Africa.
A site-specific installation, Providence based artist James Montford’s “The Planetarium of Black Indian Constellations,” is located in Wheaton’s Weil Gallery, which nests inside of the larger Beard Gallery.
Curator Michele L’Heureux developed her concept for the shows after hearing about Women’s & Gender Studies and Art History Associate Professor Kim Miller’s invite for Nunn to speak at Wheaton this autumn. (The lecture, open to the public, will be given by Nunn on September 23 at 7 p.m., followed by a book signing.)
L’Heureux made the decision to install Nunn’s work on one side of Beard Gallery and David Krup Workshop prints on the other. This elegant informational split highlights the integrity of the components. The overall content flow allows diverse viewpoints to mingle, so that they float relationally for viewers and suggest a larger dialogue. The choices in art on view collectively explore historic and present-day ramifications of colonial expansionism and Manifest Destiny, as they shape globalism and perceptions of identity and place.
Nunn, who earned critical acclaim for his documentation of South Africa before and after Apartheid, revisits South African history from 1779 to 1879. He has photographed places that were once strategically important battlefields from the Boer Wars era also known as Africa’s Hundred Years’ War.