Strauss & Co is pleased to present the fourth in a series of ongoing exhibitions in which artists are paired to highlight certain synergies between their life and work. This year, the museum-quality exhibition aims to highlight the work of South African artists Mary Sibande and Dorothy Kay. Curated by Strauss & Co Head Curator and Senior Art Specialist Wilhelm van Rensburg.
Exhibition Now Open
OPEN FOR VIEWING
11 July 2022 – 12 August 2022
Monday – Friday
9am – 4pm
89 Central Street, Houghton, Johannesburg
(1886 – 1964)
Dorothy Elvery was born at Greystones County, Wicklow, Ireland in 1886. At the age of 14 she
began studying figure painting at the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art and the Royal Hibernian Academy. In
1910 she came to South Africa to marry Dr Hobart Kay who later became District Surgeon in Port Elizabeth. She was a founder member of the Eastern Provence Society
of Arts and Crafts in 1918. She regularly participated
in the Society’s group exhibitions. She was represented
in the British Empire Exhibition in London in 1924 and was elected Member of the Royal British and Colonial Society of Artists. Two years later, after exhibiting at the Dominion Artists’ Exhibition in London – where Queen Mary bought one of her etchings, Romance – Dorothy Kay began illustrating stories for the Outspan magazine, producing over 2000 illustrations for the magazine over the years.
In 1940 the Union government commissioned her
to paint war subjects, and several other commissions followed such as the two large panels for General Motors, South Africa, a mural for the SABC in Grahamstown, and two murals for the Reserve Bank in Port Elizabeth. She became best known as a painter and portraitist, producing numerous quirky self-portraits, family portraits and 23 official portraits of the mayors of Port Elizabeth, as well as several perceptive works depicting people at work. A master printmaker, she produced more than 44 etchings over the course of her career. Retrospective exhibitions followed in 1965, 1966 and 1982 after Dorothy Kay’s death on 13 May 1964 at the age of 77. Her daughter, Marjorie Reynolds wrote Dorothy Kay’s biography, Everything
You Do is a Portrait of Yourself in 1989, and in 1991 she published Dorothy Kay’s Memoirs of the Elvery Family.
(1982 – )
Mary Sibande was born in Barberton, South Africa, in 1982, and currently lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa. Sibande obtained an Honours degree from the University of Johannesburg in 2007 following a Diploma in Fine Arts from the Witwatersrand Technical College in Johannesburg in 2004. Notable awards include the Helgaard Steyn Award for Sculpture in 2021; 2017 Smithsonian National Museum of African Arts Award; the University of Johannesburg Alumni Dignitas Award in 2014 and the 2013 Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Visual Arts.
In 2022, a solo exhibition of Sibande’s works titled
The Red Ventiriloquist, was presented by the Musée d’art Contemporain de Lyon in Lyon, as well as an exhibition of new work titled A Red Flight of Fancy at SMAC Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa. Earlier solo exhibitions include I came apart at the seams, at Somerset House in London, UK and Mary Sibande at the Leroy Neiman Gallery at Columbia University in New York City, USA, both in 2019; The Purple Shall Govern, a travelling exhibition presented at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival in Makhanda (formerly known as Grahamstown) in 2013, the Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town, the Standard Bank Gallery in Johannesburg and the Musée Léon Dierx in Saint Denis, Reunion Island, all in 2014; Long Live the Dead Queen at the Musée d’Art Contemporain di Val-de-Marne in Paris, France (2013); and Mary Sibande and Sophie Ntombikayise Take Central Court at the Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas, USA (2012).
Sibande has exhibited her work extensively within curated group shows and biennales, including the 54th Venice Biennale, as part of a group presentation for
the South African Pavilion titled Desire, Narratives in Contemporary South African Art, in Venice, Italy (2011).