Haroon Gunn-Salie : History After Apartheid

Goodman Gallery , Johannesburg, South Africa
22 Aug 2015 - 19 Sep 2015

Haroon Gunn-Salie : History After Apartheid

Haroon Gunn-Salie, History after apartheid (Uganda), 2015 Lithographic print forming part of portfolio of 20 29.7 x 42 cm Edition of 100

History after apartheid is the first solo exhibition by Haroon Gunn-Salie at Goodman Gallery Johannesburg.

The exhibition casts light on transitional contemporary South Africa, defined by the history of colonialism and apartheid in a fractious global context of violence, radicalism and neo-colonialism. Consisting of three thematically related bodies of work, the exhibition elaborates on areas that have come to define Gunn-Salie’s practice: site-specific intervention, public art and dialogue based collaboration.

The exhibition takes its name from a new work in the form of a major interactive installation, a portfolio of two-colour lithographic prints, and a two-channel film. History after apartheid addresses the apartheid security forces’ use of purple dye dispensed from water cannons on armoured vehicles to mark protesters attending mass democracy marches and demonstrations, to identify and arrest those in attendance. The first truck-mounted water cannon was used for riot control in 1930s Nazi Germany. It was re-appropriated by the apartheid security police adding dye to the water stream. This image of purple stained people fleeing police has become iconographic of the mass liberation movement against apartheid and persists throughout the global-south.

The installation makes use of a series of shadow sculptures and timed, interactive lighting drawing parallels between the contexts: pro-democracy protestors in India blasted with purple dye; Ugandan police painting opposition leaders in luminous pink; Bangladeshi lawyers protesting outside the Palace of Justice painted a pale pink; Hungarian police using a combination of blue and green to disperse a pro-Socialist demonstration in downtown Budapest; Turkish teachers coloured bright yellow while marching in Ankra for secular education and South Korean protestors marching against US president George W Bush’s visit to Seoul illuminated in orange. In lower Woodstock, Cape Town, a protest by the Ses’khona Peoples Movement is broken up by a South African Police Service water canon dispensing blue and Israeli police using bright cerulean blue to identify Palestinian stone-throwers in Bil’in.


Opening: Saturday 22 August at 11h00


presented by Art Week Joburg 2015 

8 September at 7pm, at Goodman Gallery Johannesburg,

A conversation between artists Haroon Gunn-Salie and Adejoke Tugbiyele who will have exhibitions running at Goodman Gallery Johannesburg and Cape Town simultaneously. The works of both artists deal with the experience of Africans in post colonial settings fraught with migrancy, gender inequality and homophobia, as well as navigating complexities of memory. Journalist and author Rebecca Davis will moderate the discussion.


Haroon Gunn-Salie was born in 1989 in Cape Town, and is currently based between Cape Town and Johannesburg. He was an active participant in the local contemporary art scene while completing his BA Hons in sculpture at the University of Cape Town’s Michaelis School of Fine Art in 2012. Gunn-Salie was placed in the top five of the Sasol new signatures competition in 2013. His work was selected to form part of Simon Castets and Hans Ulrich Obrist’s 89-plus project, and Gunn-Salie participated in 89plus programme with Obrist at the 2014 Design Indaba. In 2015, Gunn-Salie’s work was selected to feature on major international exhibitions including Making Africa: A Continent of Contemporary Design, at the Vitra Design Museum, the 19º Festival de Arte Contemporânea SescVideobrasil and What Remains is Tomorrow, the South African Pavilion at La Biennale di Venezia.





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