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Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum | You'll be sorry

26 October - 24 November 2023
Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg

Goodman Gallery presents You’ll be sorry, an exhibition of new large-scale paintings by Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum. This body of work, created in Sunstrum’s new studio in The Hague, unpacks the concept of homecoming and expands on a core thematic impulse in her practice: the push and pull between the personal and the universal narrative, presenting cinematic scenes that slip between the real and the imagined.

You’ll be sorry marks Sunstrum’s first solo presentation in the Johannesburg gallery, a city that played a significant role in shaping the artist’s identity post international studies and her residency at the Bag Factory in 2010 where Sunstrum worked alongside the likes of the late David Koloane and Sam Nhlengthwa.

Featured works play out the fictional narrative of a femme fatale figure who embodies the precarity, suspicion and defiance that comes with a return and desire for access. The figure is seen in gathering spaces; lines outside bureaucratic buildings, seating areas outside the home, by the river. Occupying the liminal spaces of colonial outposts and government offices, the vulnerability of requesting permission to leave or stay is poignant. It brings to the surface the residue and hierarchy of colonial power structures. The figure’s ambiguity is highlighted through her staged positions and disjointed placement within the environment, coupled with her translucent appearance. This provides an interrogation of border politics in the geopolitical sense as well as a feeling of being on the border, an outsider, within one’s immediate circumstances.


Crayon, pencil, and oil on 4 wood panels
Work: 140 x 200 x 3 cm
Crayon, pencil, and oil on 4 wood panels
Work: 140 x 200 x 3 cm
Crayon, pencil, and oil on 4 wood panels
Work: 150 x 140 x 3 cm
Crayon, pencil, and oil on 4 wood panels:
Work: 150 x 140 x 3 cm
Crayon, pencil, and oil on 3 wood panels
Work: 100 x 210 x 3 cm
Crayon and oil on 14 wood panels
Work: 210 x 300 x 3 cm
Crayon, pencil, and oil on 2 wood panels
Work: 100 x 140 x 3 cm
Crayon, pencil, and oil on 4 wood panels
Work: 140 x 200 x 3 cm
Crayon, pencil, and oil on linen
Work: 107 x 190 cm
Crayon, pencil, and oil on 2 panels
Work: 100 x 140 x 3 cm
Pencil on 2 sheets paper
Work: 140 x 100 cm
Pencil on 3 sheets of paper
Work: 100 x 210 cm



Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum image

Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum

Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum’s (b. 1980, Mochudi, Botswana) multidisciplinary practice encompasses drawing, painting, installation and animation. Her work alludes to mythology, geology and theories on the nature of the universe. Sunstrum’s drawings take the form of narrative landscapes that appear simultaneously futuristic and ancient, shifting between representational and fantastical depictions of volcanic, subterranean, cosmological and precipitous landscapes.

One of Sunstrum’s most notable projects in London came in the form of a 2018 mural which wrapped around the exterior of The Showroom. The work was dedicated to South African Novelist Bessie Head and formed part of the exhibition titled Women on Aeroplanes, curated by The Otolith Group, Emily Pethick, and Elvira Dyangani Ose.

Key exhibitions and performances include: All my seven faces at Contemporary Art Center, Cincinnati, OH, USA (2019); Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town, South Africa; The Wiels, Brussels, Belgium (2019); Kunsthaus Zürich (2019); The Nest, The Hague (2019); Michaelis School for the Arts at the University of Cape Town (2018); Artpace, San Antonio, TX, USA (2018); The Phillips Museum of Arts, Lancaster (2018); Interlochen Centre for the Arts, Interlochen (2016); NMMU Bird Street Art Gallery, Port Elizabeth (2016); Tiwani Contemporary, London (2016); VANSA, Johannesburg (2015); Brundyn Gallery, Cape Town (2014); FRAC Pays de Loire, France (2013); the Havana Biennial (2012); and MoCADA, New York (2011).

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