The Happily Never After Exhibition

Showcasing at the AVA Gallery


Contemporary artists, Sharlene Khan, Nelmarie du Preez and Lebohang Kganye, have produced a thought-provoking, conceptual photographic exhibition that looks to challenge the norms of everyday life - particularly the norms of everyday life for the South African, whatever race, age or gender, of today. The exhibition, called Happily Never After, explores and expresses the creatives’ concept of identity, and is currently on display at The Ava (Association for Visual Arts) Gallery on Church Street in Cape Town until Friday, 27 July 2012.

Each of these three artists has contributed a series of their own work to make up the exhibition:Sharlene Khan satirises preconceived stereotypes in showcasing her 2008 “What I look like, What I feel like” series;  Nelmarie du Preez parodies expectations of feminity in presenting her very recent 2012 visual conception, “Shooting the Bride”; and Lebohang Kganye deconstructs the influence of Western fairy tales in showing her 2011, self-titled photographic exploration, “B(l)ack to Fairytales”.

Lebohang Kganye herself says, “...I am very much the art I create.” And thus, perhaps, to understand the meaning behind these pieces and, indeed, the overall conceptual display, Happily Never After, we must first understand the artist, the creator.

Sharlene Khan

Sharlene Khan is originally from Durban, where she completed both a BA (Fine Arts) and MA (Fine Arts) at the University of Durban-Westville before moving to Johannesburg to complete a second Masters degree in Fine Arts at the University of the Witwatersrand. The list of places she has exhibited includes Durban, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Switzerland, India, France, USA, Sweden and Holland. While she is primarily a painter, she has delved into many forms of mixed media and photography, a relevant example being her series shown in this exhibition, “What I look like, What I feel like”.

This piece focuses on identity and her depiction of herself, as seen through her own eyes, versus the depiction of how she believes she is seen through the eyes of ‘everybody else’. Often humorous, playful and sometimes acerbic, the series focuses on her stereotypical identity juxtaposed with the visual of her inner being - her inner fears, demons and shortcomings. The image entitled “Postgraduate Beggar” is a powerful representation of such.

Nelmarie du Preez

Born in Pretoria, Nelmarie du Preez attended North West University and graduated with a BA in, interestingly enough, Theology and Psychology. Feeling the call of the arts, she subsequently enrolled in UNISA and completed a BA Arts and Culture with a further Honours Level year in Visual Arts, for which she received Top Student. She has since been accepted into the MFA in Computational Arts program at Goldsmiths University of London. Her social commentary series and play-on-words title, “Shooting the Bride”, explores external appearances of femininity and mimics mini-dramas described by her own recently married friends. Du Preez depicts the bride before, during and after the ceremony in a number of digital photographs captured on backlit film. The scenes show the sometimes bizarre, often comical, beauty rituals women will endure for the perfect white wedding. Her images seem to question the women within our society desperate to ultimately be seen as the perfect beacon of femininity; the flawless bride dressed in virginal white. One image in particular, “Mini drama #5 Watch the Dress!”, Depicts du Preeze dressed in a full white wedding gown doing her very best to make use of the facilities while swathed in fabric! The image is comical and light-hearted, but also shows a human being unable to perform one of the most basic tasks owing to the binding traditional dress.

In the West we call that barbaric.  

Lebohang Kganye

Hailing from a township in Johannesburg, Lebohang Kganye was first introduced to the power of photography when studying Kevin Carter and the Bang Bang Club for a matric assignment. So deeply influenced was she, that in 2009 she began to study the medium at the Market Photo Workshop in Johannesburg, and she has since completed three courses in photography.  She has done much documentary work, both personally and in collaboration with other artists. Her chosen exhibition, “B(l)ack to Fairytales”, tackles the psychological effect of dreaming of white fairy tales as a black South African.  She takes a ‘mocking’ role as she explores her memories of the Western fairy tales she grew up with as a black child, and by dressing her adult form in elaborately exaggerated costumes emphasizes the fantastical world where, upon being rescued from her tower by the prince, they both live happily ever after. (This is South Africa. That princess would have needed burglar bars on that window, not to let her hair down through it.) Kganye ultimately creates extremely surrealistic photographs highlighting the farce of the ‘white’ fairy tales.

This exhibition can be viewed for free, and gallery times are Monday to Friday: 10am – 5pm; and Saturday: 10am – 1pm.

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By Aisling Holmes

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July 2012
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Cafe ExtrablattSunday Brunch at Café Extrablatt

Home to one of Cape Town’s most affordable all-you-can-eat breakfast buffets

marc lottering cape town comedy clubHalf-Price Sundays Stand-Up at Cape Town Comedy Club

Laugh 50% off top-notch entertainment every last day of the week at this one-stop-funny-shop

ismael lo Ismaël Lô Sets the Tone at the Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concerts

10 years later, Ismaël Lô comes back to the continent for a stellar performance

The Full Monty - 4Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of The Full Monty with a Local Production

Watch a local cast tackle this British classic

Kirstenbosch Summer ConcertsKirstenbosch Goes Big for 2017/2018 Concert Series

24 concerts featuring 30 acts including 6 international artists, spread out over 20 weeks; the best summer of your life!

Shakespeare in Love - 12Shakespeare in Love at The Fugard Theatre

Romeo and… Ethel, the Pirate’s Daughter

Our City Film Project - 3Big Bad Wolf Pictures Presents Our City Film Project

Head to the V&A for a movie session with a difference

Junior MTB Workshop - 2BreakAway Rides Will Teach Your Kids to Mountain Bike With Confidence

The Junior MTB Skills Workshop Series at BreakAway Rides will turn your kids into champion mountain bikers

La Motte ConcertsClassical Concerts at La Motte Wine Estate

La Motte's culture of excellence reaches far beyond wine-making, by embracing the wonder of classical music

Markets3Sunday markets in and around Cape Town

Take it easy this Sunday at one of these great Sunday markets to take a stroll through

MAReSOLSatisfying Specials at MAReSOL Restaurant

Food that will make your palate and pocket happy

sea kayaking 12 apostlesSea Kayaking Weekend Family Special

Buy one adult kayaking ticket and get a kids ticket FREE with Kaskazi

ScootoursJunior Passengers Ride FREE Every Sunday with Scootours®

This exciting off-road adventure provides fun for the whole family

Battlefield Live SA Laser Tag Children's Events Cape TownKids’ Party Special with Battlefield Live SA Laser Tag

Treat your little one to the ultimate military-style birthday bash and save R500

GONOW LogoGet a discount on Sunday Sunsets with GONOW Electric Bicycles!

Watch the sun set over the Sea Point Promenade from an electric two-wheeler at half the price!

Food at Thali Thali Game Lodge and Reserve Sunday Lunch Buffet at Thali Thali Game Lodge

Cap off the weekend with a hearty, affordable spread at this family-friendly West Coast reserve

The Backyard Grill Lounge RibsBBQ Ribs Special at The Backyard Grill Lounge

Savour succulent, sticky ribs for just R150 per kilogram on Wed, Sat and Sun

Dizzys Camps BayDizzys Beer Pong and DJ Sundays Competition

Are you Cape Town’s next beer pong champ?

Bugz Playpark in Cape TownSunday Funday at Bugz Playpark

Every Sunday, CapeTownMagazine.com readers can enjoy a day of fun and learning with their children.

Kloof Street HouseSunday Lunch & Free Live Jazz at Kloof Street House in Cape Town

While away the last few hours of the weekend with some smooth tunes and good grub at this hidden gem

Crystal TowersSushi Making Classes at Cape Town Marriott Hotel Crystal Towers

Wow guests at your next dinner party with your sushi making skills

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