A Celebration of Human Resilience by Absa L’Atelier 2019 Ambassadors

Absa and SANAVA Host a Collaborative Exhibition Commenting on Society’s Recent Challenges

In partnership with the South African National Association for the Visual Arts (SANAVA), Absa Art Hot Spot opened its final exhibition for 2021 on the 25th of November. Titled The Resilience of the Human Spirit, the exhibition showcases work produced by Absa L’Atelier 2019 ambassadors Raji Bamidele (Nigeria), Winifrid Luena (Tanzania), and Nkhensani Rihlampfu (South Africa) and runs until the end of January 2022.

Dr Paul Bayliss, Absa Senior Specialist Art curator, says they chose the theme as it embodies many of society’s challenges over the past two years. “The Resilience of the Human Spirit speaks to the many trials and tribulations people have been going through. The human body is a contrast of strength, weakness, duality, and dualism. It is both fragile and tough. But no matter what we endure, it is the resilience of the human spirit that allows us to keep moving forward. It keeps one alive, forcing one to keep achieving better, to overcome any obstacle and to endure. And it is through the regeneration of our souls connecting to the essence of life that enables us to persevere. In essence, the human spirit demonstrates that where there is a will, there is way. This exhibition is a celebration of how the human body is able to triumph over all and any circumstance,” he commented.

This exhibition is in line with our ethos of making possibilities come to life for visual artists and we are using this to launch new works by our 2019 Absa L’Atelier ambassadors. In addition to this collaborative exhibition by these three young talented artists, each artist will, within the next five years, be taking up a solo exhibition in the Absa Gallery,

Dr Paul Bayliss, Absa Senior Specialist Art Curator

Nigerian visual artist Raji Bamidele said, “my works examines the everyday innermost activities of mankind, exploring personal and political narratives, focusing mostly on the resilience of the human spirit,” commenting on how he drew inspiration from experiences that moulded him as a young man.

As Above, So Below. 1a (2021) is part of a Limited Edition 25 Oil, Acrylic and Goldleaf on Canvas series. It was designed by Absa L'Atelier 2019 ambassador,
Left: As Above, So Below. 1a (2021) | Right: As Above, So Below. 1b (2021) – Raji Bamidele
Oil, Acrylic and Goldleaf on Canvas 91.44cm X 121.92cm each

Nkhensani Rihlampfu, a South African multi-media artist, commented, “The work exists in the overlapping margin between truth and ideology; it is in this space that we each discover our identity and acknowledge the importance of communication. We are presented with familiar structures and recognisable characteristics, but never definitive facts.” His work aims to expose the manipulation of communication through gesture and assumption by using fantastical figures to immerse viewers in a reality founded in perception.

In the middle of the storm (2021) is a 2 part, Cotton Stings and acrylic on canvas. It was designed by Absa L'Atelier 2019 ambassador, Nkhensani Rihlampfu
Left: In the middle of the storm 1 (2021) | Right: In the middle of the storm 2 (2021) – Nkhensani Rihlampfu
Cotton Stings and acrylic on canvas 150 x 118cm each

The third contribution comes from Tanzanian visual artist Winifrid Luena whose work is a study of individuality over individualism and stated, “there is a sense in the world at times that being an individual is a collective process – that it is part of a larger argument intended to bring some kind of human liberation, that it is an act of authority and power over the self – which is why I divide these two terms.”

The sky is calling (2021) is a 3 part, Edition A.P Screen print on Fine Art archival paper. It was designed by Absa L'Atelier 2019 ambassador, Winifrid Luena
The sky is calling I-III (2021) – Winifrid Luena
Edition of 3 + 2 AP (AP 1/2) Screen print on Fine Art archival paper 120 x 120 cm (each)

Dr Avi Sooful, SANAVA National President, echoed similar sentiments to Dr Paul Bayliss. She feels that it’s time to celebrate the work of 2019’s young artists, selected from hundreds of entries. “I think this exhibition comes at a time when we need to see our artists back doing what they love to do, which is art. In partnership with Absa, we always pride ourselves in helping to develop young artists from across the continent, and I believe this exhibition will be the first of many to come for these talented artists.”

Visit this powerful celebration of human resilience by the Absa L’Atelier 2019 Ambassadors