Gallery News for Sue Williamson
Sue Williamson in Venice
The theme for Venice Agendas 15 is Crossing Boundaries. Venice Agendas is organizing a series of talks, discussions and performances to coincide with the Venice Biennale, these will be followed by a series of outcome events that take place internationally throughout 2015. Sue Williamson is included in BORDER LINE: Right of Passage due to take place on 8 May. This unique limited edition publication event will consist of the assembling of 100 individual art books constructed on site from work by 25 international artists that have each produced 100 signed photographic works as a ‘one off’.
Sue Williamson in Brazil, Connecticut and solo
Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro hosts artevida (politica) until September 21 that includes five works by Sue Williamson. Curated by Adriano Pedroso and Rodrigo Mouro, artevida examines the relationships between art and life from the late 1950 to the early 1980s taking Brazilian, and particularly Rio de Janeiro, art practices from that period as a point of departure. Five works from Williamson’s A Few South Africans are included in the show which gathers works made in resistance to authoritarian regimes. At the same time Williamson shows For Thirty Years Next to his Heart and the video works, Better Lives on Contemporary Art/South Africa at Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut until September 14. More than 30 South African artists are on this survey show featuring work made from the late 60s to the present. Williamson is the subject of a solo show at Cape Town’s Iziko Slave Lodge titled There’s something I must tell you, until June 2015, as well as being included in No Fixed Abode at the New Church Museum in Tamboerskloof.
Various Artists At Yale
Contemporary Art/South Africa at Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut, USA opened on 09 May 2014 and features more than 30 artworks produced in South Africa or by South Africans from the late 1960s to the present, a period of immense political and social change. The artists in this exhibition – including William Kentridge, Sam Nhlengethwa, Mikhael Subotzky, Diane Victor, Sue Williamson – address key aspects of the experiences of South Africans, offering multiple perspectives on their lives, their society, and their world. The exhibition runs until to 24 August 2014.
Various artists at the South African Pavilion at Venice Biennale
Works by David Koloane, Gerhard Marx, Maja Marx, Philip Miller, Sam Nhlengethwa, Sue Williamson & Nelisiwe Xaba are featured on the South African Pavilion at the 55th la Biennale di Venezia. Curated by Brenton Maart, the exhibition is titled Imaginary Fact: Contemporary South African Art and the Archive. The exhibition is presented by the National Arts Festival and funded by the Department of Arts & Culture. The 55th la Biennale di Venezia will take place from 1 June to 24 November 2013.
Press for Sue Williamson
Sue Williamson / Mail and Guardian / South Africa / 11 November 2014Artists in the firing line as they test the limits of freedom of expression by Stefanie Jason (775.9 KB)
Sue Williamson / Blogspot.com / 4 November 2014Sue Williamson's Diary by Sue Williamson (3.2 MB)
Sue Williamson / Arctualite.com / 3 November 2014Truth and Reconciliation: Sue Williamson at Frieze Masters, by Polly Brock (633.8 KB)
Sue Williamson / Artthrob / June 2014Review: There's something I must tell you by Lloyd Pollack (335.8 KB)
Sue Williamson / Contemporary Magazine / Issue 86Profile: Sue Williamson by Barbara Pollack (1.3 MB)
Sue Williamson / Cape Times / 16 July 2010500 year time machine trip by Suzy Bell (581.3 KB)
Sue Williamson’s multimedia exhibition All Our Mothers, seen earlier this year at Goodman Gallery Johannesburg, travels to Cape Town this August. The show celebrates the strength of the extraordinary women who helped to bring this country to freedom, and examines the generation gap between these wise, iconic veterans of the struggle, and their granddaughters, the confident young born frees.
Williamson’s multi-screen video installation There’s something I must tell you portrays six intense conversations in which the older women recall important moments of their histories and their lives, and the younger women respond, and present their own forthright views on living in South Africa right now. Stories of exile, of the women’s march, of imprisonment evoke the ultimate question: Was it all worth it? The answers are sometimes surprising.
In making the series, Williamson worked with such key figures as the charismatic Amina Cachalia, to whom this exhibition is dedicated, the distinguished Dr Brigalia Bam, the 101-year-old Rebecca Kotane, Carollne Motsoaledi, widow of Rivonia triallist Elias Motsoaledi, Ilse Fischer, activist daughter of Afrikaner lawyer Bram Fischer, and liberation movement heroine Vesta Smith.
Amina Cachalia and Caroline Motsoaledi were two of the women portrayed in Williamson’s portfolio of etchings/screenprints of the 1980s, A Few South Africans, a series that was reproduced and widely distributed as postcards at a time when images of these women were rarely seen in the press. Today, those postcards and prints are in such museum collections as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the V&A Museum in London, and the Walther Collection in Germany.
There’s something I must tell you originated when Williamson was a Rockefeller Foundation Creative Arts Fellow in Bellagio, Italy in 2011 and received a phone call from Amina Cachalia to contribute to a book at the very moment the artist was thinking she would like to interview and photograph Amina again, and to reconsider the important contribution of that generation almost 20 years into the new democracy. And so the new project began.
Accompanying the video installation is a new series of more than twenty photographic portraits of women taken over a thirty year period.
The artist is greatly indebted to the National Arts Council of South Africa, the Goethe Institute and Business Arts South Africa for support for All Our Mothers. The producer of There’s something I must tell you is Monkey Films’ Clare van Zyl.
All Our Mothers, Sue Williamson’s new show at Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, celebrates the strength of the extraordinary women who helped to bring this country to freedom, and examines the generation gap between these wise, iconic veterans of the struggle, and their granddaughters, the confident young born frees.
Williamson’s multi-screen video installation, There’s something I must tell you portrays six intense conversations in which the older women recall important moments of their histories and their lives, and the younger women respond, and present their own forthright views on living in South Africa right now. Stories of exile, of the women’s march, of imprisonment evoke the ultimate question: Was it all worth it? The answers are sometimes surprising.
In making the series, Williamson worked with such key figures as the charismatic Amina Cachalia, to whom this exhibition is dedicated, the distinguished Dr Brigalia Bam, the 101 year old Rebecca Kotane, Carollne Motsoaledi, widow of Rivonia triallist Elias Motsoaledi, Ilse Fischer, activist daughter of Afrikaner lawyer Bram Fischer, and liberation movement heroine Vesta Smith
Amina Cachalia and Caroline Motsoaledi were two of the women who were portrayed in Williamson’s portfolio of etchings/screenprints of the 1980s, A Few South Africans, a series that was reproduced as widely distributed postcards at a time when images of these women were rarely seen in the press. Today, those postcards and prints are in such museum collections as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the V & A Museum in London, and the Walther Collection, Germany.
Accompanying the video installation There’s something I must tell you is a new series of more than twenty photographic portraits of women taken over a thirty year period.
There’s something I must tell you originated when Williamson was a Rockefeller Foundation Creative Arts Fellow in Bellagio, Italy in 2011 and received a phone call from Amina Cachalia to contribute to a book at the very moment the artist was thinking she would like to interview and photograph Amina again, and to reconsider the important contribution of that generation almost 20 years into the new democracy. And so the new project began.
The artist is greatly indebted to the National Arts Council of South Africa, the Goethe Institute and Business Arts South Africa for support for All Our Mothers. The producer of There’s something I must tell you is Monkey Films’ Clare van Zyl. The exhibition opens at Goodman Gallery on May 16 and ends on June 15.
Sue Williamson has been a key figure on the South African art scene since the early 1980s when she produced A Few South Africans, a groundbreaking series of portrait prints featuring women in the struggle against apartheid.
Voices, which opens at the Goodman Cape on February 19, is Williamson’s first solo exhibition in Cape Town in a number of years. Important selected work from the past three decades will be shown alongside her latest two series – Other Voices, Other Cities, an international series of projects documented in photographs, and The Diaries of Lady Anne B. Also on view will be Last Supper at Manley Villa, a portfolio of black and white photographs taken in the home of one family in the final days of District Six in 1981.
The theme running through all of these rather different works is that of personal history, and in many cases, the exact words people use to express themselves and to describe their situations.
Williamson’s work has always been about addressing social issues and mediating contemporary history through the people who are living through it. After the end of apartheid she addressed the stories that came to light during the hearings at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and subsequently addressed the HIV/AIDS pandemic in a moving series entitled From the Inside.
Extending her attention beyond South Africa, Williamson’s Other Voices, Other Cities examines what it means, in this age of globalization, to live in a particular place. Why do the residents of a city choose to live there, and if there were one message that would express the essence of that city, what would it be?
Williamson approaches the project by gathering together a group of young artists and others and asking them to workshop this question. At the end of the workshop the participants vote on the most popular statement. This statement is then made up in large cardboard letters, and the participants pose in the city, holding up the letters to spell out their message. On almost every occasion, there have been difficulties with local authorities in getting the photographs taken.
At a time when so much of the world is grappling with accelerated globalization, the dialogue created by the residents of the different cities is engaging and revealing. The cities featured in the series so far are Havana, Harare, Johannesburg, London, Bern and Berlin. Other cities like Beirut, Beijing and New York are in the planning.
Last year, Williamson undertook a large-scale commission at Cape Town International Airport on a 30-metre glass wall, producing a work entitled A Random History of Cape Town, 1499 – 1994. Research for this project led her to the diaries of Lady Anne Barnard, wife of the British Colonial Secretary of the Cape Colony. From 1797 to 1800 Lady Anne wrote freely and openly of daily life in Cape Town, bearing witness to the treatment of the ‘Hottentots’, the intrigues, the babies of suspicious parentage, the fears of a slave revolt, the floggings, the fleas, the food … the complex picture she paints of early colonialism throws light on later history.
In The Diaries of Lady Anne B, Williamson draws on Lady Anne’s writings and sketches to present a series of monotypes. With this work, Williamson, who trained as a printmaker, returns to the mark of the hand.
Williamson’s work forms part of almost every museum collection in South Africa and is also included in many international art institutions and private collections. She was recently honoured with the Rockefeller Foundation Creative Arts Fellowship for 2011, and will take up her three-month residency at the Bellagio Center in Italy.
In the age of the global, what message would the residents of one particular place send out to the world about their home? In a new series, begun in March 2009 at the 10th Havana Biennale in Cuba, Sue Williamson investigates this question.
Williamson had been honoured by the Biennale committee as a special invited artist with an individual exhibition, and spent more than a month in Cuba working on a new public art project, but at the last minute she was prevented by local authorities from putting messages up on buildings. Williamson’s solution was to invite artists and friends to hold up the letters instead, in a series of photographs which recall activist protest lines. A similar project in Harare followed, then Johannesburg was next on the list. Other cities followed.
The message from Cuba was ‘The blockade is also in the mind’. From Harare,
‘For whom has the sun risen?’ In Johannesburg, the group asked ‘Who is Johannes?’ Although the messages are local and distinctive, they have a universal resonance.
Making voices heard has always been a major focus of Williamson’s work, and in other work on ‘Other Voices, Other Cities’, Williamson updates an early theme of dislocation with Last Supper at Manley Villa 1981 and 2008, a portfolio of haunting photographs of one family in District Six, Cape Town, shortly before their home was demolished. In What About El Max? (2005) Williamson worked with fishermen in Alexandria, Egypt to voice their fears about being moved out of their homes.
Williamson is internationally recognized as one of the leading artists working in South Africa, and her work is represented in numerous major public and private collections both here and abroad.
Goodman Gallery Johannesburg welcomes you to 2012 with Advance/… Notice, an exhibition of new works by a dynamic group of contemporary artists from around the world. As we advance into a new calendar year, this exhibition gives notice of innovations from some of our artists who are already familiar to you, and of our new ventures into an intellectual exchange with artists with whom we are excited to work for the first time. This show will also give audiences a preview of what is to come, as many of the featured artists have solo shows planned for 2012 at Goodman Gallery spaces and other prestigious South African institutions.
Advance/… Notice introduces newly perfected techniques or processes for some of our well-known artists, such as platinum photographic prints by David Goldblatt, and a completely new turn of direction and field of interest for African American artist Hank Willis Thomas, who first exhibited with us on In Context in 2010, as well as for Sigalit Landau, the acclaimed Israeli artist we co-hosted at last year’s Venice Biennale. These international savants are joined by South African artists such as Hasan and Husain Essop, Moshekwa Langa, Mikhael Subotzky, Sue Williamson, William Kentridge, Rosenclaire, and Frances Goodman revealing either brand new works, or works not yet seen in Johannesburg. Also featured are works by Kendell Geers, whose retrospective exhibition will open at IZIKO South African National Gallery in late March 2012.
Our first show of the year seems an apt time to introduce the novel and the unexpected in the work of a number of artists and to also welcome prominent figures including Liza Lou, a world-renowned American now living and working in KwaZulu Natal; South African Candice Breitz, now resident in Berlin; Chilean-born New Yorker Alfredo Jaar; London-based Iranian Reza Aramesh, as well as Carla Busuttil – a young South African artist based in Berlin who is well-established in the United Kingdom, but has never before exhibited in her home country.
Liza Lou presents a work titled Gather Forty, one of a series of forty individual sculptures made from gold-plated beads that have been expertly threaded onto four hundred individual pieces of stainless steel wire and bound in a sheaf – continuing the shift of the beadwork medium from craft to conceptual art. Alfredo Jaar, internationally recognised artist, filmmaker and architect, celebrated for the public interventions he has created all over the world, shows From Time to Time, a panel of nine Time magazine covers focusing on Africa that either feature animals or malnourished Africans – revealing how the rest of the world often encapsulates its second largest continent. Breitz, who opens a major survey of her work titled Extra! at the Standard Bank Gallery this February, presents The Character, a video installation filmed in Mumbai that seeks to understand the role and influence of child characters in mainstream Indian cinema through interviews with a group of young moviegoers. In Action 78, Aramesh uses familiar scenes from news footage of the first Gulf War to restage, re-present and destabilise any easy readings of the conflicts we think we understand. Oil paintings by Busuttil offer a sinisterly-executed perusal of the exploitation of power and cruelty.
We are also very pleased to present for the first time the work of Nelisiwe Xaba, who will be presenting an interactive dance and video collaboration with Mocke J van Veuren at Goodman Gallery Projects in February. The crossover into visual art is exciting new territory for this renowned performer/dancer.
Goodman Gallery hopes you will join us to be inspired, challenged and excited by this exhibition and its promise of advances in the visual arts of South Africa. We trust you will find the exhibition gives notice of an innovative and exciting programme for 2012 in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Goodman Gallery Cape presents Summer Show – opening on 15 December and running until 14 January. The exhibition has been designed as a review, focusing on new and recent work by South Africans artists either represented by or associated with the gallery. Important works from series produced by the artists over the past year are showcased, and the show also features a selection of works recently shown at the gallery’s Johannesburg spaces.
The exhibition includes prints from Siemon Allen‘s Records series, in which the artist explores images of South Africa through the collection and archiving of music records from the beginning of the 20th Century to the present day. Photography is strongly represented, with works from Jodi Bieber’s vibrant, urban-denizen take in her Soweto series, in marked contrast with David Goldblatt’s large-scale colour prints of rural South Africa. Mikhael Subotzky (who recently won the 2012 Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Visual Art) and Patrick Waterhouse show recent work from their ongoing collaboration on the Ponte City project.
A text piece by Stuart Bird is shown in anticipation of his upcoming solo show in January, Gerhard Marx presents exquisitely detailed and artisanally worked surfaces in his new works, continuing his preoccupation with notions of mapping, place and nature, and Walter Oltmann shows a powerful new addition in aluminium wire to his series of insect suit sculptures.
Paintings by Moshekwa Langa, Lisa Brice and Clive van den Berg explore abstraction and gesture in different ways; all three have produced significant bodies of new works which were well received during 2011. Minnette Vari‘s uncanny brush and ink drawings of the goddess/crone Baubo sit in awkward dialogue with Kendell Geers’ La Sainte Vierge.
This exhibition affords a fascinating look at the output of some of South Africa’s major artists, and will also showcase from our Johannesburg spaces works not yet shown in Cape Town, including Kudzanai Chiurai’s Revelations, a series of photographic tableaux exploring politics and power in Africa, new wood sculptures by Willem Boshoff, and a selection of drawings, linocut graphics and sculpture by William Kentridge.
This winter the Goodman Gallery will relaunch its Parkwood space, which has been extensively reconsidered, both physically and conceptually. This launch will be initiated with a group exhibition simply titled Winter Show, featuring a range of luminary-status local and international artists. The show will not only present recent works by Goodman stalwarts such as William Kentridge, David Goldblatt, Sam Nhlengethwa and Mikhael Subotzky, but will also reveal a shift in the Gallery’s approach, showcasing work from around the Continent and beyond that is both explicitly and implicitly concerned with synergies and tensions between Africa and the rest of the globe. Some of the participating international artists, such as Ghada Amer and Hank Willis Thomas, are not only being showcased by the Goodman Gallery, but are now officially represented by us.
The Winter Show will act as a confluence of the Goodman Gallery’s top represented artists, as well as artists participating in In Context – a series of exhibitions and interventions currently taking place at Arts on Main and other venues in Johannesburg. Artists such as Jenny Holzer, Amer, Willis Thomas, Bili Bidjocka, Willem Boshoff and Kara Walker will participate in both shows, with the Winter Show presenting some of their more recent work. While In Context manifests an intimate and often candid exploration of the dynamics of the African continent, the Winter Show will offer a broader conceptual platform, covering many aspects of South African, African and global landscapes and conditions.
The Winter Show will elaborate on the thorny notion of the politics of representation, which Brenda Atkinson and Candice Breitz confronted in their 1999 collection of essays Grey Areas: Representation, Identity and Politics in Contemporary South African Art. The book was a direct response to the critique of Nigerian curator Okwui Enwezor, who was the creative director of the Second Johannesburg Biennial in 1997. At the time, Enwezor interrogated the practice of artists such as Breitz, Minnette Vári and Penny Siopis, intricately considering the question of ‘who has the right to represent whom?’ Now, over a decade later, accusations of misrepresentation have been revisited and reconsidered not only by Enwezor himself and those whose essays were included in Grey Areas, but by the art community at large. In Context magnifies these issues, while the Winter Show augments the dialogue, bringing new voices into the conversation.
Compelling features of the Winter Show include two of Walker’s 2009 films – which are based on narratives from archives of a bureau established in 1865 to assist African Americans with the transition from slavery to freedom – presenting the artist’s signature black-silhouette cut-out figures, which almost impossibly convey the complexities of race, gender, sexuality and power in their stilted and provocative movements. Jenny Holzer’s Purple Red Curve (2005) transmits a coalescence of master narratives through a curved electronic LED sign. Jeremy Wafer will create a site-specific wall drawing in the Goodman Gallery specifically for the show. Kentridge will present a series of new drawings produced this year as well as a maquette of the structure World on its Hind Legs, created in collaboration with Gerhard Marx. A large scale, steel version of this work will be launched at the Apartheid Museum on 8 July 2010 as part of In Context. The Winter Show will also feature an ongoing screening of all of the Goodman Gallery’s top art films by leading artists such as Kentridge and Vári.
The Goodman Gallery in Parkwood has undergone numerous physical transformations and now boasts a new showroom and a space dedicated to photographic works. We are in the process of establishing an art library accessible to the visiting public and will offer a range of educational art talks and events during the Winter Show.
With Goodman Gallery firmly established as a prestigious, world-class contemporary art institution, the Winter Show will reveal how the Gallery – beyond representing artists of the highest caliber – is dedicated to bringing an innovative programme of relevant and compelling international works to South Africa, offering audiences exposure to some of the best contemporary work being produced locally and abroad.
Ryan Arenson | Walter Battiss | Deborah Bell | Justin Brett | Lisa Brice | Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin | Adam Broomberg | Kudzanai Chiurai | Marlene Dumas | Claire Gavronsky | Robert Hodgins | William Kentridge | David Koloane | Moshekwa Langa | Alexandra Makhlouf | Brett Murray | Sam Nhlengethwa | Walter Oltmann | Jonah Sack | Kathryn Smith | Jaco Spies | Clive Van Den Berg | Diane Victor | Jeremy Wafer | Sue Williamson
For many artists, drawing forms part of a larger process – a loose way of visualizing an artwork before committing to it in a more permanent medium. But the act of drawing itself remains one of the oldest and most eloquent forms of artistic expression. Goodman Gallery Cape is proud to present a group exhibition of drawings entitled ‘The Marks We Make’, exploring notions of mark-making as assertions of ownership and expressions of violence, memory and play.
Drawing usually refers to pencil marks on paper. In this exhibition we approach the term more loosely, featuring a range of media to question what constitutes a drawing and what gives it power. Works will include photographs from the Red House series by Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, depicting the marks left behind by prisoners of Saddam Hussein in Iraq; wire and sculptural elements by Walter Oltmann and William Kentridge; installations by Jeremy Wafer, Jonah Sack and Justin Brett, as well as more traditional pencil, oil and charcoal drawings by Sue Williamson, Lisa Brice and Sam Nhlengethwa.
‘The Marks We Make’ brings together South African artists to explore the ways in which marks shape our environments and inform our perspectives. Bodies are circumscribed, silenced or marginalized by the invasive marks of violence. But these marks can also be used to express an identity, stake out a position or form communities. Territory is claimed, land contested, and ownership asserted through the use of marks, both physical and symbolic. The exhibition seeks to interrogate the ways in which these marks act to create the contingent, political spaces within which we form ourselves, and the role they play in shaping our personal and cultural memories.
The series A Few South Africans was made at a time when South Africa was still firmly under the grip of apartheid, and attempted to make visible the history of women involved in the struggle for freedom.
At that time, the faces of these women almost never appeared in the popular press, and in white South Africa, little was known about them. Meeting women such as Helen Joseph and Amina Cachalia and learning their histories was a remarkable experience for me. If I could, I took the photos of the women on which the photoetchings were based myself, but others were sourced from banned books in university libraries, or other archives.
The backgrounds behind the centrally place portrait reflect details and key events in each woman’s life. The layered silkscreened borders around the portraits add further details, and also refer to the way people in the squatter camps and townships elevated family snapshots to small artworks by framing these images with coloured paper cut with zig zag scissors.
The central image in each piece is a photo-etching with additional etching techniques like aquatints and drawing through hardground. Some of the imagery on the frames is derived from African textiles, with additional smaller images added in. In the case of Mamphele Ramphele, the design is derived directly from fabric designs in the north of the country, where ordinary objects in bright colours printed on kanga style cloths were very popular. The close friend of Steve Biko, Dr Ramphele was banished to the north of the country, where she opened a clinic. (In the Virginia Mngoma portrait, Mngoma has one such cloth tied around her shoulders.)
An important part of the history of this series is that they were printed as postcards, in order to make the images widely accessible to the general public. These postcards have been referred to as ‘one of the most important icons of the eighties’. There are 17 works in the entire series.
Manley Villa: The Last Supper 1981 – 2008 is a portfolio of ten black and white photographs taken on and around the celebration of Eid in October 1981, at Manley Villa, Rochester Street, District Six, Cape Town. A final photograph. taken in 2008 shows the empty land where Manley Villa once stood. October 2, 1981 marked the last time Eid was celebrated in this house before it was demolished
Manley Villa was the home of Naz and Harry Ebrahim and their family for more than thirty years. In September 1981, the Ebrahims received a 30 day eviction notice. Manley Villa was to be knocked down in terms of the Group Areas Act of the Nationalist government, which had proclaimed the land for White use only. Like the thousands of other families in District Six, the Ebrahims were forced to move to other accommodation, far from their home.
In the last months, the history of the house began to be written on the walls, and visitors were invited to add their names and messages. The ironic invitation, ‘Welcome to the Last Supper’ greeted visitors as they entered the front door.
In 2012, the spot where Manley Villa once stood still lies empty and has not been built on.
This portfolio is an edition of 20.
In this age of globalization, what does it mean to live in particular place? Why do the residents of a city choose to live there, and if there is one message that would express the essence of that city, what would it be? This is the question South African artist Sue Williamson has been exploring for the past two years, in an ongoing series entitled Other Voices, Other Cities.
In this series, Williamson, known for bringing unheard voices into an art arena, works by gathering together a group of young artists and others and asking them to think about what it means to live where they live. What informs the residents in their daily lives, good or bad, and if the city has an image and an attitude, what is it? At the end of the workshop, participants vote on the most popular statement.
The letters of the statement are fabricated by the artist in signage material, and Williamson hunts out a location in the city appropriate to the message for a photoshoot. On the day, participants hold up the letters to spell out the message in a word-by-word series of photographs.
At a time when most of the world is frankly in a mess, the dialogue created by the residents of the different cities is engaging and revealing. Cities in the series so far are Havana, Harare, Johannesburg, London, Bern, Berlin, New York, Krakow and most recently, Istanbul. Other cities like Mumbai, Cairo, Beijing and Moscow are in the planning.
An important part of the works is the choice of location … a green manicured park in Bern, a busy downtown scene in Johannesburg, and so on. It is this dialogue between the residents of the cities, revealed by their choice of statement, their clothes, their attitudes, which gives the series an arresting immediacy, an engagement with contemporary urban life.
ISTANBUL IS RELENTLESS 2011
Location: Taksim Square, the unceasingly busy centre of the city. The effort of keeping up in this fast moving, edgy city can be tough. On this shoot, police tried to intervene and stop the shoot because they objected to the word ‘relentless’, but eventually allowed us to continue.
I MEAN, WHERE ELSE ARE YOU GONNA GO? 2011
Location: A rooftop in the East Village. New Yorkers express their essential belief that they live in the center of the world
YOUTH FACING HISTORY 2011
Location: One of the two remaining sections of wall built in 1942 to contain the Jewish ghetto. Young people are conscious of the burden of the past.
IT’S A BIT SUSPICIOUS IF YOU HAVE TOO MUCH MONEY 2010
Location: The steps of the Reichstag. Security police intervened halfway through the shoot, and after that, participants were allowed to mime holding, but not actually hold, the remaining letters.
YOU’RE FREE ONCE YOU KNOW THE RULES 2009
Location: The South Bank area of the Thames. London is a big international city, but it is still dominated by class cod
EVEN NOTHING WORKS 2009
Location: The Bern Rosengarten. The statement of the artists is a Swiss existential joke: you don’t have to do anything in Switzerland; you will still be supported by the social security system
WHO IS JOHANNES? 2009
Location: The street which runs between the central station in Johannesburg and the taxi rank. The Johannesburg workshop participants came up with the quirky WHO IS JOHANNES? Nobody is sure who the city is named for, and the question also speaks to the anonymity of the swirling city, home to thousands of immigrant
FOR WHOM HAS THE SUN RISEN? 2009
Location: The roof of the National Gallery of Zimbabwe (no permission to shoot anywhere else in the city). This is an English version of an old Shona proverb that questions power.
A second shoot, in the original Shona language, was made in the countryside surrounding Harare.
EL BLOQUEO ESTA TAMBIEN EN LA MENTE 2009 (The blockade is also in the mind)
Location: A banana plantation in a sealed off area used for making educational films on the outskirts of Havana, far from the city centre.
EL BLOQUEO ESTA TAMBIEN EN LA MENTE was the first in the series. It was the statement of a single artist, and expressed his belief that as a result of the State blaming the American blockade for all its troubles, the blockade mentality has become embedded into the minds of people at every level of Cuban society. My original intention was to put the statement up as a piece of public art on an old hotel for the period of the Havana Biennale 2009, but at the last minute, permission was refused.
El Max is a small fishing community in the city of Alexandria, Egypt, where life continues as it has for centuries. The men go out to sea to fish, and spend the rest of their time cleaning their boats or mending nets.
In the main street, not much happens during the day, but as the sun goes down, the small shops open and the men come out to enjoy the night. Values are conservative, and while the men smoke shisha pipes and play dominoes in the café, the women stay in their homes.
Men of El Max documents the night life of that street in a series of photographs of Achmad, owner of the café, the sellers of cigarettes and lighters, the visiting teachers, the volunteer at the art centre, and other community personalities.
All the photos were taken using only the available light of the orange-hued street lamps.
Migrants, exiles and refugees all share the experience of displacement. Whether fleeing from political persecution, war or seeking better economic opportunities, since the advent of democracy in 1994, people from all over Africa have come to Cape Town, to make a new life. Cape Town is seen as the city of opportunity at the foot of the continent, but here, the newcomers face fresh difficulties gaining a foothold in communities already struggling to give their own families better lives. As Richard Belalufu says, ‘South Africa is a nice country, a big country, but for the black foreigners, it is a calvary, and not a road to paradise.’
In 2003, Sue Williamson met with a number of immigrants to work on a project designed to bring the reality of their lives to a new audience. After a series of meetings, the subjects recorded their life stories in a sound studio. Williamson edited these stories to three and half minutes each and members of the group were asked to come for a filming session, dressed for a portrait.
The studio was set up like a photographic portrait studio, with a black and white photograph of Cape Town’s Table Mountain, taken from the station taxi rank, the point of entry into Cape Town, as a backdrop. A few different chairs and carpets were the props. (The idea here was to update the classic genre of the African photo studio for the age of film.)
The subjects were asked to gaze into the camera while the edited story of their life was played back to them. The seriousness of each participant and the intensity of their gaze reflects the involvement they felt at hearing their own story played back to them for the first time, and small head nods and hand tappings break the stillness of their poses.
The series was filmed on 35 mm film and transferred to DVD. Each video is 3.5 minutes long.
The series of six video portraits are divided into two, Better Lives 1 , a compilation of the older participants, and Better Lives ll , the younger group.Each portrait can be shown individually in a continuous loop or as part of the compilation. The edition is 10.
A portrait print, or film still, of each of the subjects is also available, printed on archival paper in an edition of six.
Better Lives was commissioned by Africalia, Brussels, and shown first on ‘Transferts’ at the Palais de Beaux Arts, Brussels, in 2003.
Sponsorship was also received from the National Arts Council of South Africa.
The cinematographer was Michael Buckley.
NOTES ON THE PARTICIPANTS
Better lives 1
1.Richard Belalufu (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
Richard Belalufu is an immigrant from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He arrived in Cape Town in 1994, leaving his family behind when he heard the Mobutu regime was hunting him down, as he was playing the role of double agent. He mourns the assassination of Patrice Lumumba.
He has a diploma in electro-mechanical engineering, and had an important job for a big company in DRC but now works on a construction site in Cape Town. His family were finally able to join him some years later. Finds life very hard. Xenophobia from local people who feel threatened by the success of immigrants is a big problem.
2. Isabelle and Albert Ngandu (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
Albert Ngandu left the DRC because ‘death was waiting for me’. Leaving his wife Isabelle behind, he fled to Johannesburg with two of their four children. After some time, he came to Cape Town, where he found a job at Boris the Baker. Four years after Albert left, Isabelle joined him with the other two children, and gradually they built up a business selling curios. Now have three shops and a stall on Greenmarket Square. Have never been back, and miss “the big family” they left behind.
3. François Bangurambona (Burundi)
Burundian François Bangurambona was a deputy minister in the Hutu government. One day, Tutsi soldiers came in to his office asking for the minister, who was not there at the time. As the soldiers left, they threw a grenade into his office.
Luckily for François, his driver on the street below, heard the explosion, came upstairs and got him in a car and to hospital and on a plane to Kenya. For six months, François lay in hospital, unable to speak or hear. On his recovery, in 1995, he found his way to Cape Town.
4. Deka Yusuf Farrh and Nitshma
Deka’s businessman father was killed by robbers in his shop in 2000. One brother had also been killed previously, so Deka decided to leave Somalia. She was six months pregnant at the time. After traveling through Kenya and Tanzania, Deka was arrested at Namibian border, as the Namibians did not recognise her Somalian passport. She spent six months in jail, where she gave birth to her daughter, Nitshma. Finally her brother sent her money to bribe officials and she was able to get to Cape Town. Deka now has a small cigarette stand on the street, but has lost all contact with her family in Somalia “because Somalia phones don’t work and there’s no post”.
5. Nelson Manuel
Nelson is in his early twenties, sent from Angola by his father in 1998 to avoid having to become a soldier. He works as a car guard in Cape Town, and describes how he was threatened with death one night by gunmen wishing to steal a car. He would like to find another job, but in the meantime, he has to continue as a car guard, as his girlfriend is pregnant, and he wishes to make a life with her.
6. Cynthia Gabriel
Cynthia left Angola as a small child, and was brought up in Cape Town by her sister, whom she always believed to be her mother. When she 12, she discovered the truth, and began to long to see her real mother.
Cynthia was still living with her sister when she became pregnant at sixteen. Her sister beat her and threw her out. Cynthia’s baby was premature and died of a lung problem when she was three weeks old.
Cynthia now works in the cafeteria of a school, and her wish is to return to Angola to see her mother.
Truth Games: The Series attempts to consider the role of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the healing/not healing of post-apartheid South Africa through a series of interactive pieces. Each piece pictures an accuser, a defender, and an image of the event in question. At no time are all three images visible, as text taken from the transcripts and printed on slats obscures sections. Viewers are invited to slide these slats across different parts of the images to conceal or reveal parts in an attempt to replicate the action of the country in trying to decide whether the truth is being spoken or still hidden.
In my work, I attempt to re-contextualise issues of contemporary South African history. By mediating through art the myriad images and information offered for public consumption in the mass media, I try to give dispassionate readings and offer a focus and new opportunities for engagement. Art can provide a distance and a space for such considerations.
The From the Inside series was started as an attempt to address the problem of the silence and shame that surrounds the subject of HIV/AIDS. The idea was to conceive an art project which operated in the public arena, as well as producing work which could be shown in a gallery.
In making contact and talking to people who were infected, and how the infection had changed their lives, what came up most was that people felt they were not listened to enough. Thus the idea grew of taking the most important thing people had learnt from being HIV+, and putting it up on a wall somewhere, signed with their name.
The “messages”, each tagged with the name of the speaker and their HIV status, move beyond the anonymity of graffitti and gain authenticity by being attributed quotes. In some cases, the subjects were already living openly with HIV/AIDS. For others, working on the series was a big step in coming out, and becoming empowered.
The sites of the messages were carefully chosen to be read by as many people as possible, and to relate to the life of the subject — Adeline Mangcu’s is on the wall of a dairy in the main street of Langa, near Cape Town. Judy Seidman is an artist, so her message was backlit on the window of the Goodman Gallery. Johannes Bukhali wrote his message on a wall near his house in Daveryton.
The series was made from 2000 to 2002. Some messages were painted over fast.
A few are still up on the streets of Johannesburg, nine years later.
One of the most notorious atrocities of the apartheid state was the tragic killing in 1985 of the popular leader, Matthew Goniwe and three comrades. The ‘Cradock Four’, as they became known, were pulled out of their car and shot by the police. Their bodies were burned.
A Tale of Two Cradocks looks at the story of Matthew Goniwe and his family. Cradock is an outwardly charming small town, but in the apartheid years, life there for the black and white communities was entirely separated. These two stories are represented on one hand by the local tourist guidebook, and on the other by photos taken either by the artist or from the press, and a narrative in blue type which tells the story of the Goniwes.
The form of the piece functions as a dividing screen – somewhat like apartheid, you can only see one side of the ‘tale’ properly at any one time, depending on where you are standing.
Reading the guide book with its descriptions of the churches, the schools, the outings a visitor can make, the only time one gets a sense that there may also be black people living in the town, is on the page on industrial opportunity, when the availability of a large labour reserve is mentioned.
The use of the guide book, a seemingly bland brochure, but which by its very nature paints a picture of a town where half the population is occluded, is one in a series of works Williamson has made around books. Others include_For Thirty Years Next to His Heart_(1990), Colouring In(1992), based on a child’s colouring book found in the Boer War Museum, and Pages from a Government Tourist Brochure (1993).
Native Life In South Africa was the title of a brochure published by South African Railways and Harbour department in 1936, in the interests of promoting international tourism. In the foreword, visitors are promised that: “South Africa today is a veritable tourist paradise. Here the traveller encounters a remarkable conglomerate of races, varying from the most backward and primitive to the most virile and intelligent of the dark-skinned tribes.”
Pages from a Government Tourist Brochureis one of a number of works in which Sue Williamson has deconstructed pamphlets, identity documents and guidebooks from the public arena to consider the subtext, and the way in which that subtext reflected the times.
Here, South Africa was being presented not as a place of great natural beauty, but as a country where ‘dark-skinned tribes’, in all their peculiarities, might be viewed. The patronizing and pseudo scientific language of the brochure towards the indigenous people of the country prefigures the attitudes which led to the institution of apartheid policies when the Nationalist Party came to power in the late 1940’s.
In each piece in the series, a print of one page is framed in steel. Text from that page is etched into the steel, and mesh, chains, or wire twisted into barbs forms a physical barrier between viewer and subject.
In the case of the Hottentot, barbed wire seemed particularly appropriate, since early settlers fenced off traditionally open lands and exterminated the indigenous trespassers like vermin.
A portrait of a woman is captioned A BANTU BEAUTY (XOSA TRIBE) and the copy underneath reads:A subject not unworthy of Michelangelo’s genius– high flown words concealing the real purpose of the photo – to encourage tourists to come to South Africa to view exotic bare breasted women – an early version of the third world sex tour.
In a lifetime of making art, I have been privileged to have met many extraordinary women and to have listened to their stories. These are leaders, women who can be seen as mothers of the nation.
For the exhibition ‘The Mothers: a 31 Year Chronicle’, I have gone through all my old sheets of negatives, and printed up some that I have used in other works, like the etched and screenprinted portraits of Helen Joseph and Virginia Mngoma in the 1980s series, A Few South Africans. (Some people might remember the postcards which were made from that series, small portraits of women in the struggle which seemed to pop up on walls and pinboards in all kinds of unlikely places).
From the portfolio Last Supper at Manley Villa is Naz Ebrahim, the matriarch of District Six, and from the series From the Inside, which was about people living with HIV/AIDS, is the portrait of MEDU artist Judy Seidman. Amina Cachalia is seen outside her house in Fordsburg in 1984, and in 2012, I photographed her again, outside the same house, although she no longer lives there. Then there are others, like the photo of Esslina Silinga, taken when while we were visiting the site of her mother Annie’s grave in the Langa graveyard, which up to now I have seen only as a tiny image on the contact sheet.
Scanning these old negatives and printing them up has been a revisiting of the past, and I hope these images of these powerful women will live on into the future.
Born in Lichfield, England in 1941. Family emigrated to South Africa in 1948.
Lives and works in Cape Town.
In the 1980s, Williamson was well known for her series of portraits of women involved in the country’s political struggle. A Few South Africans went some way towards filling the representational void of people and events during apartheid. And in many ways, her video work focusing on South African immigrants is a return to this concern.
She says: “You become aware of the audience to whom you speak. In that sense, you think backwards: what you have to say, whom you say it to, and how it will reach the audience. Having to consider your work through the eyes of somebody who knows nothing about you as an artist and what you are doing is a useful exercise.”
Williamson has managed to avoid the rut of being caught in an apartheid-era aesthetic, she says: “I am never particularly interested in doing what I did the last time. I take one thing and work it out a number of ways.” This fact is reflected in the variety of media Williamson embraces, from print to mixed media, video and site-specific installations.
2014 There’s something I must tell you, Iziko Slave Lodge, Cape Town
2013 All Our Mothers Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg and Cape Town
2012 The Mothers: a 31 Year Chronicle, Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town
2011 Voices, Goodman Gallery, Cape Town
2009 Other Voices, Other Cities, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg
2009 The Truth is on the Walls, Wilfredo Lam Centre, Havana, 10th Havana
2007 Hotels and Better Lives, Wertz Gallery, Atlanta, USA
2005 Hotels and Better Lives, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg
2004 Messages from the Moat, Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town
2003 Sue Williamson: Selected Work, Centre d’Art Contemporain, Brussels, Belgium
2002 From the Inside, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
2002 The Last Supper Revisited, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C., USA
2001 Can’t forget, can’t remember, Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
2000 Messages from the Moat, Archive Building,Den Haag, Netherlands
1998 Truth Games, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
1994 Out of the Ashes, Fortaleza de la Cabana, 5th Havana Biennale, Cuba
1994 For Thirty Years Next to his Heart, North Dakota Museum of Art, Grand Forks, USA
1993 The Last Supper Revisited, Irma Stern Museum, Cape Town, South Africa
1987-9 A Few South Africans, Visual Art Resources of the University of Oregon. Canadian and US tour
1985 A Few South Africans, University of Oregan, Eugene. USA
1981 The Last Supper, Gowlett Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
2014 Contemporary Art / South Africa, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut
2014 Artevida (politica), Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
2014 Striking Resemblance: The Changing Art of Portraiture, Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University, New Jersey
2014 Rise and Fall of Apartheid, Museum Africa, Johannesburg, South Africa
2013 – 2015 Distance and Desire: Encounters with the African Archive Walther Collection, Ulm
2013 Rise and Fall of Apartheid, Museum Africa, Johannesburg
2013 Imaginary Fact: Contemporary South African Art and the Archive , 55th Venice Biennale
2013 My Joburg La Maison Rouge, Paris; Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden
2013 The Rise and Fall of Apartheid: Photography and the Bureaucracy of Everyday Life, Haus der Kunst, Munich
2012 The Rise and Fall of Apartheid: Photography and the Bureaucracy of Everyday Life, International Center of Photography, New York
2011 12th Istanbul Biennial
2011 Impressions from South Africa, 1965 to Now, Museum of Modern Art, New York
2011 Artefacts, The Project Space, Ann Arbor
2010 Darkroom, Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Richmond, Virginia
2010 Ampersand, Daimler Gallery, Berlin
2010 Pierneef to Gugulective – 1910-2010, South African National Gallery, Cape Town
2009 Unbounded: New Art for a New Century Newark Museum, N.J.
2009 Nation State, Goodman Gallery Cape, Cape Town, South Africa
2008 Africa: Personal Poetics, Guangzhou Triennale. Guangdong Museum of Art, China*
2008 The Poetics of Cloth, Grey Art Gallery, New York University
2008 Signs of Change: Social Movement Cultures 1960s to Now, Exit Gallery, New York,
2007 Lift Off!, Goodman Gallery Cape, Cape Town, South Africa
2007 Inscribing Meaning, National Museum of African Art, Washington D,C., Fowler Museum, Los Angeles USA
2007 The Loaded Lens, Goodman Gallery Cape, Cape Town, South Africa
2007 The Sneeze 80×80, Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa*
2007 Apartheid: The South African Mirror, Center for Contemporary Culture, Barcelona, Spain
2007 _Sasol Wax Awards Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg and Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa*
Spier Contemporary Art Awards Spier Wine Estate, Cape Town and Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg
2007 Tapping Currents: Contemporary African Art and the Diaspora, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri
2007 Désiréalités, Espace 1789, Paris, France
2006 Body of Evidence, National Museum of African Art, Washington DC
2006 Trienal de Luanda, Angola
2006 9th Bienal de Havana, Cuba
2006 Off the Record, Shiibuya Station, Tokyo
2005 Imagining the Book II, Library of Alkexandria, Egypt
2004 A Decade of Democracy, Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
2004 Insights, National Museum of African Art, Washington D.C. USA
2004 Democracy X, Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town, South Africa
2004 Visions of Paradise, João Ferreira Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
2004 The Performative in African Photography, Michael Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town
2004 Dak’Art, Biennale de Dakar, Senegal
2004 The Sneeze 80×80, Gallery Gazon Rouge, Athens, Greece
2004 New Identities: Contemporary South African Art, Museum Bochum, Germany
2004 Boustashy 01, El Max, Alexandria, Egypt
Brett Kebble Art Awards, International Convention Centre, Cape Town,
2004 _AIDS in the Age of Globalization, The National Museum of World Cultures, Gothenburg, Sweden
*2003*_Transferts_, Palais de Beaux Arts, Brussels, Belgium
2003 Co-existence: Contemporary Cultural Production in South Africa, Rose Museum, Brandeis University, Boston, USA
2003 Sexuality and Death: Aids in Contemporary African Art, Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum, Cologne, Germany
2002-4 History/Now, Liljevachs Konsthalll, Stockholm; Museum of Work, Norrköping; Linköpings Art Centre; Dunkers Culture Centre, Helsingborg; Sörlandets Art Museum, Kristiansand, Norway; Midlanda Art Centre, Timrå/Sundsvall; Ronneby Art Centre, Sweden
2002 Africa Apart, New Society for the Visual Arts, Berlin, Germany
2002 Rencontres Video Arts Plastiques, Herouville Saint Clair, Normandy, France
International Media Art Festival, Mexico City, Mexico
2002 Head North: Work from the permanent collection of the South African National Gallery, Bildmuseet, Umea, Sweden
2001-2The Short Century: Independence and Liberation Movements in Africa 1954-1994, Villa Stuck Museum, Munich, Germany, House of World Cultures, Berlin, Germany, Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago, USA and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Centre, New York, USA
2001-3Dis/locations, Circulo de Bella Artes, PhotoEspana, Madrid, Spain, Sala Rekalde, Bilbao, Spain and Forum de Maia, O’Porto, Portugal
2001 World Wide Video Festival, Baby Lounge, Amsterdam, Netherlands
2000 Mostra Africana de Arte Contemporaneo; Videobrasil Electronic Art International Festival, SESC, Sao Paolo, Brazil*
2000 Archive 09.06_02.07, Quartair,The Hague, Netherlands
2000 Johannesburg ,Johannesburg, Openspace, Milan, Italy
2000 Emotional Geographies: re-imaging the past in post-apartheid narrative, Las Palmas Building, Rhine Harbour, Foto Biennale Rotterdam, Netherlands
2000 The New Republics, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne. Australia
2000 Secure the Future, Exhibition Centre, Durban South Africa and Harvard University, Boston, USA
1999 Artery – Goodman Gallery artists at Joao Ferreira Fine Art, Cape Town, South Africa
>Fast Forward.za_, Van Reekum Museum, Apeldoorn. Netherlands, Houston, USA
*1999*_Fotofest Five South African Artists
1999-2002 Liberated Voices: Contemporary Art from South Africa, Museum for African Art, New York, Museum of Art, Austin, Texas, Stanford University, California, University of Arizona, USA
1998 Les Arts de la Resistance: Exposition de Plasticiens d’Afrique du Sud, Galerie Michael Luneau, Nantes, France
1998-9 Drome och Mollnar, Kulturhuset, Stockholm and Museum of Fine Art, Goteborg, Sweden
1997 Thirty Minutes, the Robben Island Visitors Block, Cape Town,
1997 The District Six Outdoor Sculpture Project, Cape Town
1997 Alternating Currents, 2nd Johannesburg Biennale Electric Workshop, Johannesburg, South Africa
1996 Colours, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany
1996 Simunye, Adelson Gallery, New York, USA
1996 Insight: Four Artists from South Africa, Wright Gallery, New York. USA
1996 Panoramas of Passage, Meridien International Centre, Washington DC
1995 Ku(n)stlijn, Hoorn, Netherlands*
1995 Objects of Defiance, Spaces of Contemplation, 1st Johannesburg Biennale, MuseumAfrica, Johannesburg, South Africa
1995 Kunst Heimat Kunst, Kunstlerhaus, Steirischer Herbst Festival of Contemporary Art, Graz. Austria
1994 Vita Art Now Awards, Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
1994 Trackings, Art First, London, UK
1993 Incroci del Sud, Fondazione Levi, Venice. XLV Venice Biennale, and Sala Uno, Rome, Italy and Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
1993 The Art of Protest, Benton Gallery, Southampton, N.Y., USA
1992 9th Biennale of Sydney, Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
1992 4th Havana Biennale, National Museum of Art, Havana, Cuba
1992 Africa en America, Bayona Vigo and Santiago de Compostela, Spain
1991 Art and the Media, Gertrude Posel Gallery, Wits University, Johannesburg, South Africa*
1990 South African Mail: Messages from Inside, Soho Gallery, New York,
1989 Art/Images in Southern Africa, Kulturhuset, Stockholm, Sweden, and Nordic tour
1988 Detention without trial: 100 artists protest, Market Theatre Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
1986 Commitment to Vision, Museum of Art, University of Oregon
1986 About Time: Images of South Africa Ping Pong Palace, Michaelis School of Fine Art, Cape Town, South Africa
1985 Tributaries, MuseumAfrica, Johannesburg, South Africa, and German tour
1982 Art Towards Social Development, Culture and Resistance Festival, National Museum and Art Gallery, Gaborone, Botswana
2009 Text in Landscape Workshop, National Gallery of Art, Harare, Zimbabwe
2003-5 Crossroads Street Signs, a Public Eye Project, Crossroads, Cape Town, South Africa
1986 Papermaking and linocutting Workshop, Khorixas Community Centre, Namibia
2013 Guest curator Sommerakademie Paul Klee Zentrum, Bern
2008 Consulting curator, ZA Young Art From South Africa, Palazzo delle Papesse, Siena
1999 Founder member of arts organisation, Public Eye, Cape Town, South Africa
1997 Founding editor www.artthrob.co.za
1991-1992 Chairperson of the Visual Arts Group, Cultural Workers Congress, Cape Town, South Africa
2014 On Time: African Art and the Question of Temporality, The Clark Institute, Williamstown, Mass.
2011 Conversation amongst Friends, Museum of Modern Art, New York
2008 The Essential Art of African Textiles: Design Without End, Panelist, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York USA
2007 Inscribing Meaning, Panelist, Fowler Museum, Los Angeles, USA
2005 Young Artists’ Project Seminar Panelist, KZNSA, Durban, South Africa
2005 Imagining the Book Biennale, Panelist, Library of Alexandria, Egypt
2002 Who defines the Contemporary Biennials and the Global Art World?,
Panelist. Sackler Museum, Smithsonian International Art Museums, Washington D.C. USA
2002 Beyond the Gallery: Art in Public Spaces, Conference director, Cape Technikon, Cape Town, South Africa
2002 Workshop on Cultural Management for Artists, Guest speaker, Hotel Paz, Lujan, Argentina
2001 Fact and Fiction in Post Authoritarian Societies, Guest speaker, University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA
2001 Places and Spaces of Art in Gender Perspective, Panelist, University of Bielefeld, Germany
2001 The Short Century: Artists Talks Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, USA
2000 State of the Visual Arts in Africa and the African Diaspora: An Agenda for the 21st Century, Panelist, Ecole de Beaux Arts, Paris, France
1991 Arts Weekend: Nadine Gordimer, Wally Serote, Sue Williamson and Malangatana, Waterford Kamhlaba School, Swaziland
1986 Women’s Caucus for Art Annual Conference: Liberty and the Pursuit of Liberty, Panelist, NYU, New York, USA.
1986 Apartheid South Africa: the Role of Art in the Struggle, Guest speaker, Museum of Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA
2011 Bellagio Creative Arta Fellowship, Italy, Rockefeller Foundation
2007 Visual Artist Research Award Fellowship, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., USA
2007 Goodman Gallery Award, Johannesburg, South Africa
2005 Lucas Artists Residency Fellowship. Montalvo Art Center, California
2005 Brett Kebble Art Awards, major award, Cape Town, South Africa
1994 Vita Art Now Award, Overall winner, Johannesburg Art Gallery
2009 10th Havana Biennial, Cojimar, Cuba
2007 National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C. USA
2007 Cooper Hewitt Museum of Design, New York, USA
2005 Montalvo Art Center, Saratoga, California,USA
2003 Boustashy 01, Urban Scenographies, Alexandria, Egypt
1999 International Center for Printmaking, Rutgers University, N.J., USA
1995 Thami Mnyele Foundation, Amsterdam, Netherlands
1990 Editha Morris Foundation, Paris, France
1984 Advanced diploma (fine art) Michaelis School of Fine Art, Cape Town, South Africa
1967-9 Art Students League of New York, New York, USA
Tate Gallery, London, UK
Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK
Walther Collection, Ulm, Germany
The Daimler Collection, Berlin, Germany
Zeitz Collection, Segera, Kenya
Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Richmond, Virginia, USA
Museum of the 21st Century, Louisville, Kentucky, USA
Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA
Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, USA
National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., USA
Newark Museum, New Jersey, USA
Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama, USA
Sir Elton John Photography Collection, Atlanta, USA
CAL Foundation, Hoorn, Netherlands
North Dakota Museum of Art, Grand Forks, USA
Sindika Dokolo African Collection of Contemporary Art, Luanda, Angola.
Wellesley College, Massachusetts, USA
Wifredo Lam Centre, Havana, Cuba
Wheaton College, Norton, MA, USA
BHP Billiton, Johannesburg
BMD Knitting Mills, Cape Town
Brenthurst Library, Johannesburg
Cape Provincial Library, Cape Town
Constitutional Court of South Africa, Johannesburg
District Six Museum, Cape Town
Durban Art Gallery, Durban
Gauteng Legislature, Johannesburg
Houses of Parliament, Cape Town
Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town
Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg
King George VI Art Gallery, Port Elizabeth
MTN Art Institute, Johannesburg
Museum of Art, Pretoria,
Natal Technikon, Durban
Old Mutual, Cape Town
South African Broadcasting Corporation, Johannesburg
SA Breweries, Cape Town
Sandton Museum, Gauteng
Spier Wine Estate, Cape Town
Standard Bank, Johannesburg
Tatham Gallery, Pietermaritzburg
Tokara Wine Estate, Stellenbosch
United States Embassy, Cape Town
United States Embassy, Johannesburg
University of Cape Town, Cape Town
University of Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch
University of the Western Cape, Cape Town
University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
University of Zululand, KwaDlangezwa
2009 De la Hoz, P, Sue Williamson at the vortex of reality, in Granma, Havana, Cuba, April 3
2006 Pollack, B, Sue Williamson in Contemporary magazine (cover story) p. 34-37 No. 86
2005 Miller, K, ‘Trauma, Testimony and Truth: Contemporary South African Artists Speak African Arts p40 – 51 (Volume XXXVIII – Number 3)
2009 South African Art Now, Publishers: HarperCollins New York, Jacana Media, South Africa (now also to be turned into an e-book)
1996 Jamal, A, Art in South Africa: the Future Present, David Philip Publishers, Cape Town, South Africa
1989 Resistance Art in South Africa 1989 David Philip Publishers, Cape Town, South Africa, St Martins Press, New York USA and CIIR, UK, Republished 2004, Double Storey Books, Cape Town, South Africa,
2005 Sue Williamson Plasticienne, Les Carnets de la Création, Editions de l’Oeil, France
2003 Sue Williamson: Selected Work, Double Storey Publishers Cape Town, South Africa, in association with the Centre d’Art Contemporain, Brussels, Belgium and the Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa