FNB Art Joburg
Sandton Convention
Centre, Johannesburg,
South Africa​

Exhibition of Interest

An intervention

with Athi Patra-Ruga + Irma Stern


In our newly added series titled Of Interest, we’ll feature art happenings and people worth a double click, this week we focus on an Exhibition Of Interest where Athi Patra-Ruga has started an artfully disruptive dialogue with Irma Stern’s body of work. 


“I want the viewer to know about my journey with Irma and how I can have an interracial and intercultural relationship, yet still put her to task. History can judge people, but I believe in nuance. With that said, the wording she used in the archives is not cute. I have to come to terms with that. She did not see the subjects she drew as fully human. Painted with an audacious and primitivist performance, she rendered the black subject weak.” Athi Patra Ruga in conversation with Marion Stemberger. 

Both admiration and disruption are present in the relationship Athi-Patra Ruga’s artworks have with the practice of the late Irma Stern. Enticed by Stern’s technical ability, lavish use of colour, and her being an Expressionist painter in the then-conservative South Africa, Ruga continues to cast a revisionist eye over her work. 

The result of a 3-month residency at the Irma Stern Museum, ‘Athi & Irma… an intervention’  is open for public viewing until 18 June 2022.



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Ruth Ige. Don't hide your glory, 2022.
Acrylic on canvas. 122 x 122cm. (© Copyright 2022, STEVENSON. All rights reserved)