Public Preview: Friday 27 September, 6–8pm
The chain links us together, it links us even now through its absence. They were made here, the chains, in Birmingham and I didn’t even know. But I could still feel its presence, links clinking into eternity. Cuffs, manacles and collars —a restraint for every extremity. I’ve been trying to be the WEAKEST LINK, creating a chain reaction of breaking the bonds. Trying to not repeat history. What a cute idea: not repeating history.
In WEAKEST LINK Lady Skollie wonders about restraint, repetition, generational trauma and its antidotes.
Born in 1987 in Cape Town, Lady Skollie — given name Laura Windvogel — currently lives, works, performs and hustles for centre stage in Johannesburg, South Africa, with storytelling, ink, watercolour, crayon and woodcut printing as her weapons of choice . The artist has also just made the artwork for the new South African five Rand coin .
This first solo exhibition in a public space in Europe presents new works from large scale wall paintings to works on paper and performance, expanding her recent Papsak Propaganda series of works around the Dop system — the official system of paying coloured farm workers in alcohol .
Lady Skollie describes her own work as ‘fire, ritual, Khoisan’, referring to the Khoisan indigenous people of southern Africa, who have lived in the region for thousands of years and to who she connects the self-identifying ‘coloured’ community of South Africa — a multiracial group native to the area and distinct from the ‘black’ and ‘white’ population .
The moniker ‘Skollie’ is a common derogatory term used to describe a shady character, historically used in South Africa when a person of colour was in a place deemed unsuitable by the white populace . Lady Skollie embraces this shadiness combining it with an interplay of masculine and feminine energies, creating a space where the disparate parts of her personality are reconciled . The artist explains, “I just like having an alias . You feel like you can take more risks under a pseudonym…There is a psychology behind aliases, a kind of strength that they give you” .
For a full glossary of terms, click on the Exhibition Guide in the resources section below.
Her persona also exists outside of the artworld loops appearing on the covers of lifestyle and fashion magazines, and her position as an influencer in South Africa is bolstered by her enthusiastic use of instagram and connections to brand culture .
Lady Skollie’s vital, urgent works reveal insights into her own suppressed communities, reflecting an angry overview of the world — from pussy print snake gods whispering at the people to tales of the cultural brain washing of her school days — that makes the artist one of the most exciting image makers on the planet.
Lady Skollie features as part of Here There Everywhere: Africa, a collaborative programme of international research, residencies and exchange led by New Art Exchange (NAE), Nottingham in partnership with Delfina Foundation, Eastside Projects, mac Birmingham, Primary, The Tetley, QUAD/FORMAT. Funded by Arts Council England National Lottery funds. Here There Everywhere: Africa is a project strand of NAE’s three-year Ambition for Excellence programme, Africa/UK – Transforming Art Ecologies.
Watch Lady Skollie talking about the ideas behind her work as she puts the show together:
Listen to Lady Skollie in conversation with Gavin Wade, as part of ‘From the Artists Mouth’:
Lady Skollie (b. 1987, Cape Town. Lives and works in Johannesburg). Lady Skollie uses ink, watercolour and crayon to defy taboos and talk openly about issues of sex, pleasure, consent, human connection, violence, and abuse. Lady Skollie appeared in This is the Gallery and the Gallery is Many Things X at Eastside Projects in September 2018 with the start of PAPSAK PROPAGANDA (Pt. 1). Recent international solo exhibitions include ‘Lust Politics’, Tyburn Gallery, London (2017), ‘Fire with Fire’, solo project at FNB Joburg Art Fair, Johannesburg, South Africa (2017), and ‘Mating Dance’, solo project at AKAA Art Fair, Paris, France (2017). Recent group exhibitions include ‘Close: Proximity, Intimacy, Tension’, Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa, and ‘Right at the Equator’, Depart Foundation, Malibu, CA, USA (2018). She has been featured on BBC Africa and CNN International on ‘African Voices’, as well as on the BBC World Service’s online and radio series ‘In the Studio’. She was also included in the 2018 edition of OkayAfrica’s ‘100 Women’, an annual list which honours women across 10 different fields for their achievements and influence. Supported by ACE Ambition for Excellence fund, led by New Art Exchange, Nottingham this project sees spaces from across the UK create and develop new relationships with artists and organisations in Africa.