Noria Mabasa Shapes Dreams

Noria Mabasa Shapes Dreams

The Villa-Legodi Centre for Sculpture, located at NIROX Sculpture Park, is pleased to announce the opening of Noria Mabasa: Shaping Dreams. The exhibition will open to the public on Saturday, 22 October 2022, and run until 20 November 2022.

Held in collaboration with !KAURU Contemporary Art from Africa and the Vhutsila Arts and Craft Centre, the exhibition is the culmination of a larger project which began in May 2022, when Noria Mabasa began making new work in residence at NIROX.

84-year-old Noria Mabasa is a world-renowned South African artist who has been creating and perfecting her art as a sculptor since 1974. Her sculptures are precise objects, constructed by employing a visual language that foregrounds colour and texture to an exacting degree – ultimately pointing to the way we encounter nature by seeking spiritual guidance from them. Her work has been exhibited locally and internationally and is displayed in museums, private and corporate collections.

The Shona-Venda pottery style was developed around the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries; certain styles have clearly defined identities that have been appreciated by multiple generations. Sparked by a dream from her ancestors, Noria Mabasa’s artistic journey is influenced by the canon of Vhutsila – meaning art is inclusive of all art forms including traditional drum making, pottery, murals and sculpture. Her work largely centers on indigenous traditions of material cultural production, in particular pottery and woodwork.

She lives and works in her rural home, where she remains a traditional potter and runs an art school teaching young children the art of Venda traditional pottery and sculpting.

Generously supported by the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, her NIROX residency was accompanied by a series of workshops with learners of different ages, and an exhibition in the Residency Studio of thirty-eight pre-existing works in clay and wood, produced between 2004 and 2022.

“The exhibition at the Centre is comprised of new works produced during her residency and since, with a new selection of pre-existing works that speak to its overarching concerns. Where the initial exhibition asked what assumptions we bring to the work of Noria Mabasa, questioning the extent to which our knowledge is informed by things that have little to do with the artist, this exhibition provides fresh insight into the artist’s practice, as told through her particular lens,” says Tshepiso Mohlala of !KAURU.

The exhibition will open to the public on Saturday, 22 October 2022 from 2pm until 4pm, and run until 20 November 2022. On Sunday there will be a walkabout at 2pm with the Centre’s curator, Sven Christian, followed by a discussion with Nontobeko Ntombela at 4PM.

About the Villa-Legodi Centre for Sculpture

The Villa-Legodi Centre for Sculpture is a partnership between the Claire and Edoardo Villa Will Trust and NIROX Foundation. It is a generative space for artists, curators, writers, and cultural practitioners to create and share.

Its objective is to foster the arts, especially sculpture, by enabling the production of new works, and to pay tribute to the life and work of Edoardo Villa and his long-time collaborator Lucas Legodi.

Villa’s humanist concerns, vitality, and experimental approach to art-making are reflected in the Centre’s multifaceted programme of residencies, exhibitions, publications, workshops, talks, and educational initiatives. The Centre’s programme is intentionally organic, echoing Villa’s view that each sculpture forms part of a continuous process. We support artists working in a wide range of media by providing space, tools, resources, and expert assistance. We exist as part of a community, providing a platform for education and research, enriching critical debate and the appreciation of sculpture.

Located at NIROX Sculpture Park, the Centre is comprised of a Workshop, Project Space, and Education Hub. Its website is also home to a new open-access, online journal called FORM. Edited by the Centre’s curator, Sven Christian, and initiated by the Villa-Legodi Centre for Sculpture, the journal aims to enrich critical debate about the medium, adopting an interdiscplinary approach that encourages contributions in all shapes and sizes, from academic texts, interviews, and artistic research to poetry and prose.

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