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The Association for Visual Arts (AVA) is a non-profit, membership-based arts organisation whose primary aim is the advancement and promotion of South African contemporary art and artists.
In 2004 the AVA received its certified NPO status from the Department of Social Development. The AVA Gallery is based in the heart of Cape Town, having occupied its current premises at 35 Church Street since 1971.It is the oldest non-profit art gallery in Cape Town.
Here contemporary visual art production is promoted through regular exhibitions showcasing all media – from painting through to ceramics, photography, installations and performance – by established and emerging artists. In its choice of artists, the selection committee endeavours to promote the discursive and experimental nature of contemporary art. In doing this the AVA seeks to make important contributions to the ‘open texture’ of South Africa’s art community.
See below for new exhibitions opening in July.
Opening 16 July
Philip Steele’s work focuses on the deconstruction of the mechanisms of visual language, specifically as it pertains to gay representation. This contributes to an understanding of the systems of operation that construct and define gay identity. His work investigates the problematics of how codified symbols and metaphors represent same-sex desire. He attempts to arrest exoticization, exploitation, denial of certain bodies and stereotyping. His process allows him to control at least some of the mechanisms of how he and his community are presented, perceived, and exist. Steele sees this as his unapologetic position on the representation of acts of gay desire, lust, and love.
This exhibition presents three of Philip Steele’s video/performance projections created in Argentina and South Africa. Each of the three works stands alone in their voice of protest, pain, intellectualism, and experience. Together they present a complex personal view on the state of gay identity today and themes which are at the forefront of the LGBTQI+ debate globally.
Opening 16 July
Imaginarium is an online exhibition of paper constructions and works on paper by Judy Woodborne.
In 1993 Judy Woodborne presented her MFA-show at the AVA and now, 27 years later, she returns.
"I held my first graduate exhibition 27 years ago at the AVA, in June 1993. This was a remarkable exhibition for me, as I had worked for 3 ½ years for my MFA in Printmaking and this was the culmination of the works created. My show opened alongside the late Alice Goldin's work and, on opening night, the entire exhibition was bought by the late script and songwriter, Hal Shaper. To date, I think, this was the largest number of artwork sales for a single exhibition." - Judy Woodborne
Now, with "Imaginarium - an exhibition of paper constructions and works on paper", Woodborne and the AVA have the chance to create yet another “first”: a curated body of physical work, presented as a virtual exhibition. 27 years later, Woodborne present 27 prints that are testimony of her unique printmaking style.
Opening 16 July
"I was eleven years old when I witnessed, what was then the first of many murders; for as long as I live on the Cape Flats, this scene has been a repeated experience. It’s difficult – witnessing kids kill each other. It’s even harder to pretend that it didn't happen and to, out of fear, continue playing soccer with them.” – Warren Maroon
Warren Maroon’s first solo show, Living in a Box: a Retrospective, is a body of sculptural works that communicate his, and many others', lived experience of growing up on the Cape Flats. Made up of ordinary, seemingly insignificant objects and household items, and titled strategically, each work contributes to the recreation of an experience that is both individual and shared by a past and present community.