Goodman Gallery Johannesburg presents Beloved, a new body of work by Gabrielle Goliath.
Beloved. Or as Christina Sharpe phrases it (with characteristic poise), be loved.
In this ongoing and very personal series of drawings and prints, the artist summons and celebrates a chorus of both radical and quotidian femme presences: poets, priestesses, activists, artists, parents and prodigies. Beloved is an ode, a work of the heart – a labour of recognition, thanks and love.
With tender and sensuous lines, in this select showing Goliath pays homage to figures such as Gabeba Baderoon, Caster Semenya, Sylvia Wynter, Yoko Ono, Sade and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. Portraits of Alek Wek and Desire Marea are touched with iridescent pigment dust, affirming an erotics of black femme beauty and possibility, whilst the solemn repose of Berenice and Melwyn Britz – mother and father to Camron Britz (d. 2017) – invokes a (life)work of mourning.
Accompanying the drawings are two recent print series, published by Johannesburg-based print studio Edition Verso. Opening new expressive channels, each of these editioned works feature unique hand-coloured elements and line work.
As a life pursuit, Beloved will continue to grow and gather communities as it shows in different forms and spaces.
Through the ritual, sonic and social encounters of her art practice, Gabrielle Goliath (b.1983 South Africa) attends (and tends) to histories and present-day conditions of differentially valued life, reaffirming ways in which black, brown, femme and queer practices of possibility perform the world differently. Each of her works convenes a coming-to – a tenuous community – collapsing the presumed removed and privileged subject position of representation (as white, male, heteronormative) and calling for meetings in and across difference, in terms of complicity, relation and love.
Goliath’s immersive, often durational installations have shown across South Africa and internationally. She has won several awards including a Future Generation Art Prize - Special Prize (2019), the Standard Bank Young Artist Award (2019), and the Institut Français, Afrique en Créations Prize at the Bamako Biennale (2017). Her work features in numerous public and private collections, including Kunsthalle Zürich, TATE Modern, Frac Bretagne, Iziko South African National Gallery, Johannesburg Art Gallery, and Wits Art Museum. She lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa.