CUBICLE Series January 2022



CUBICLE Series January 2022
Jan 10 – Jan 22, 2022

Cubicle is an ongoing platform at CIRCA Cape Town, giving artists scope to exhibit smaller bodies of artworks and site-specific installations for a two week period.











*Face masks are required and must be worn at all times when visiting the gallery




Both bags and vases are practical objects. In mankind’s history, however, we have taken to displaying them as objects of wealth and success. Both can exist in such a luxurious iteration that their practicality is rendered optional in favour of their absolute beauty – the artistic prowess with which they are made – or the status they have visually accumulated. Put atop a pedestal, it now no longer matters that the vase was never built to hold flowers or water. Too busy showing off.

Luxury is a mythology. When one can’t yet afford a Birkin, we seek out our own; we fashion our own mythologies into being. I like willing myths into reality, imperfectly so.

And I love the idea of people that are so defined by their status and accumulated wealth that they are not afforded a simple pleasure: the luxury of wearing fakes.

What are luxury goods if not a reflection of class warfare?

Githan Coopoo is an artist & jewellery designer based in Cape Town who uses the performative nature of fashion to address a number of societal issues, including queer mental health & HIV stigma. Coopoo completed a BA in English & Art History at the University of Cape Town in 2016, after which he worked at the Zeitz MOCAA as a curatorial assistant (2017 to 2019). In early 2017, Coopoo, self-taught, produced a line of ceramic earrings and accessories that saw him collaborate with various major fashion brands in South Africa, and establish his own. He has shown his jewellery at fashion weeks internationally – including New York, Nigeria, Russia and Paris. His earrings were also nominated for the Most Beautiful Object in SA at the 2020 design Indaba. He has exhibited his artworks at The Fourth, the A4 Arts Foundation and the Norval Foundation’s pop-up at Boschendal, and facilitated MoMA’s discussion panel, ‘Queer Art Chat’, in 2021. 



'This body of work is inspired by the Khalil Gibran’s chapter on joy and sorrow in his book ‘The Prophet’, which I have been studying closely. In these works I am looking at the grey areas within relationships; how words can cut deep; as well as carrying with you what brings joy and sorrow all at the same time. While I look closely at these things in this series, I am even more so looking at what it means for me to hold onto them – sometimes to the detriment of myself. The act of letting go hasn’t been a smooth one for me, for I found it hard to accept change. I have come see, though, that it is through change that I have grown. I am able to hold a space to love myself and stay where I feel the most loved. Everything that doesn’t hold space for this must go.'

Yonela Doda is a Cape Town-based mixed media and collage artist. Doda’s work is premised on Josef Breuer’s Catharsis Theory. Doda explores her deep connection with both the physical and emotional aspects of painful experiences by reflecting on them through the use of distortion, fragmentation, collage and stitching. She confronts the violence faced by women in South Africa: how and why the body comes to matter; what the body can do; and how bodies interact. This has led her to her interest in extended and prosthetic bodies as well as the ritualistic and transgressive body. Doda ultimately uses her work as a way to engage with and communicate the process of healing and purification.



Elléna Lourens is a multimedia artist based in Cape Town. She began working on creative projects at a young age, and has subsequently developed a distinctive style, which she explores through illustration, murals, painting and embroidery – both personally and collaboratively. Though drawing on historic symbols, patterns and colour schemes, Lourens voices an intuitively contemporary aesthetic that seeks to redefine emotional iconography. Her works have a soft intimacy, developed through the cropped subject matter, warm tones and graphic lines. Her use of reduced colour palettes and bold shapes creates a dynamic conversation between her depiction of human connection and the emotive qualities of colour. Lourens has immersed herself in the creative world, working alongside established artists such as Faith XLVII, as well as furthering her own practice, taking part in shows and creating murals both in South Africa and abroad.



'I was sitting in a public park with my backpack on my lap dressed in dirty denim pants and a t-shirt waiting for work to start. It was a Saturday morning and my shift at the construction site of the CTICC was starting in a few minutes. A marked police van drove by and, when they circled back, I knew.
Three officers exited the vehicle and walked over. It was the usual interrogation: What are you doing? Do you have any business to be here? Where do you come from? etc.

Satisfied with the fact that there was no threat, and I wasn’t in possession of anything illegal, they decided to leave. I asked the commanding officer what about the scene made them stop and come over. He replied: ‘Because you look suspicious.’ ‘What does suspicious look like?’ I asked. ‘Like you,’ he replied.'

‘A quiet violence’ is a body of sculptural works that communicate the artist’s (and many others’) experiences with being policed in South Africa. Made up of ordinary, seemingly insignificant household items, and titled strategically, each work contributes to the recreation of an experience that is both individual yet shared by people of colour and black people. This is something that has been highlighted both locally and internationally during the Covid-19 pandemic, but which in fact has been a quiet violence towards the black and coloured community for a very long time.

'And you know now, if you did not before, that the police departments of your country have been endowed with the authority to destroy your body. It does not matter if the destruction is the result of an unfortunate overreaction. It does not matter if it originates in a misunderstanding.'

–  Ta-Nehisi Coates, ‘Between the World and Me’



The process-based artwork uses the infrastructure of the gallery building itself as a device. The balcony balustrade is turned into a knitting loom on which large pieces of knitted fabric are produced. The interior gallery space is then used as a picture plane. The knitted pieces are suspended from the ceiling beams, forming a loose labyrinth pathway in and out of the room.

The thread used in the knitting is drawn from about 200 sewing-cotton threads. This thread runs through each individual piece of fabric; it is never cut. Each knitted piece takes roughly a day to make, and gets suspended on the following day. This process will continue for 14 days. Over the last 7 days, a single fabric is unravelled daily, and bound into a single growing ball of yarn.

The work honours and draws inspiration from female characters of Greek mythology: Athene; Aphrodite; Arachne; Ariadne; and Penelope. 

Mark Rautenbach is a Cape Town artist who has also worked as Mark Splendid, Mark Maria and Splendid Miriam. He works in a variety of media, often with material which is considered waste matter, as well as textiles and paper. Rautenbach’s practice is often process-based, and draws on traditional craft techniques.

Rautenbach lectured Design for a number of years at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology [CPUT], and education recurs as a theme in his work, along with identities born out of narratives – represented through yarn. Rautenbach has exhibited at the Iziko South African National Gallery, Everard Read, Open 24 Hrs, Spier, David Krut Projects and Ebony/Curated.



'This form of art has changed the way that I perceive the world, the way that I go about each day. People are so disconnected from each other. We often overlook the simplest things that can bring us together.'

Mishal Weston can reveal a universe of beauty in the things you throw away. With the art of scanography, a camera is replaced with an ordinary office scanner. Zooming in on mundane objects, Weston explores a new perspective on the world around us. From forgotten sneakers, seashells to seeds, bottle caps to bird feathers, there’s nothing Weston doesn’t see as beautiful.

During neighbourhood walks and seaside strolls, Weston collects objects that have fallen by the wayside, anticipating the masterpiece it could be. Against the black backdrop of a scanner, Weston reveals intricate details of what was once just trash. The results are spellbinding. The pursuit of these transformations has given Weston valuable insight into life. For those who seek it, beauty is all around.

Mishal Weston was born in Harare, Zimbabwe to a South Africa mother and British father, and is now based in Cape Town. Weston obtained a BTech in graphic design from CPUT in 2011.



**Installation images by Michael Hall 

**Installation images of Mark Rautenbach by Inka Kendzia