Painting, historically regarded as the ‘royal road’ of artistic practice, has over the centuries meant that the art form, alongside drawing, served as a foundation for artistic education, where such education was available. The history of western art pedagogy in colonised places across the world often reveals that the colonial government’s rule was indirectly played out in how formal artistic pedagogies were organised. The recent calls for decolonial education around the world – fuelled by the Black Lives Matter and other affiliated movements, as well as the pandemic – have inspired reconsiderations of the human condition and the politics of care. At the same time, these social movements have coincided with a new rise in representational painting that has been critiqued, in the words of artist Olu Oguibe, as “jolly, no-worries, all sunshine and flowers, ebullient wealthy middle-class representation of Blackness...”
The ‘t’ is Silent operates adjacent to this renewed emergence. Departing from the work of Jenny Montigny in MDD’s collection and Oscar Murillo’s Disrupted Frequencies, this exhibition focuses on artists and works that record time differently, works that are about painting or that think through the medium of painting as a form of journaling – of working things through and of learning anew.
“The artists featured in this exhibition face history and the present by embracing ‘trouble’ and a kind of ‘paining’ that forces one to decide, in a time marked indecision. Where objects disappear, they are replaced by feelings and energy; where they appear they are being dissected in order to uncover another world of possibilities.” – Gabi Ngcobo