As much of the world reeled and railed on the eve of Donald Trump’s inauguration on January 20, two artists coincidentally opened exhibitions in Johannesburg that are in quiet defiance of the kind of conservatism and oppression that such a presidency is likely to inflict. SA artist Clive van den Berg opened the mixed-media A Pile of Stones at the Goodman Gallery, while visiting Belgian-Ivorian Raymond Dakoua showed a collection of black and white photographs — A Place to Call Their Own at the Goethe-Institut. The artists come from vastly different backgrounds and exhibit vastly different styles, so it’s interesting that both exhibitions take a similar, humanising approach in highlighting the violence of homophobia, while concurrently emphasising the pervasive nature of love against the probable threat of exposure and aggression. A ritual of memorialisation Van den Berg takes the starting point for his exhibition from a series of photographs that emerged in 2014, depicting bound and ...

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