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NOT A SINGLE STORY – The bonds between performance and sculpture come to life at the NIROX Sculpture Park

29 May 2018

Not A Single Story exhibition is a cross-continental collaboration between Wanås Konst, a sculpture park in Sweden, and the NIROX Foundation. The exhibition showcases the works of 26 female artists around the world.

Photo: This installation by Lungiswa Gqunta, from Port Elizabeth, is called Umphefumlo Ongaphelelwayo, perspex and clay. This artist grapples with the complexities of South African post colonial cultural and political landscape.

A private viewing of NOT A SINGLE STORY was hosted by the Swedish Embassy and Her Excellency the Swedish Ambassador Cecilia Julin: “It’s fantastic to have the Swedish sculpture park Wanås come and visit its colleague NIROX and hopefully NOT A SINGLE STORY is only the beginning of a long and fruitful friendship,” when asked to comment on the exhibition.

Curators Elisabeth Millqvist & Mattias Givell of Wanås Konst were in attendance to lead a tour of the exhibition, sharing their insights into this ambitious cooperation.

Hear My Voice poets performed selections of poetry interwoven with jazz.

The exhibition is open until 29 July 2018 at NIROX.



NOT A SINGLE STORY presents work by the following artists: Jane Alexander (SA), Beth Diane Armstrong (SA), Lena Cronqvist (SE), Latifa Echakhch (MR/FR), Frances Goodman (SA), Lungiswa Gqunta (SA), Bronwyn Katz (SA), Marcia Kure (NGR), Gunilla Klingberg & Peter Geschwind (SE), Marianne Lindberg De Geer (SE), Mwangi Hutter (KEN/GE), Dr Esther Mahlangu (SA), Whitney McVeigh (US), Nandipha Mntambo (SA), Sethembile Msezane (SA), Zanele Muholi (SA), Caroline Mårtensson (SE), Yoko Ono (JPN/US), Claudette Schreuders (SA), Mary Sibande (SA), Ayana V Jackson (US), Sophia van Wyk (SA), Nelisiwe Xaba (SA).

200 guests from the art and diplomatic communities, media and strategic partners attended the private viewing of the curated works, discussions and performances linked to NOT A SINGLE STORY. The private viewing official launch event was made possible by NIROX Sculpture Park, the Embassy of Sweden, Pretoria and Absolut vodka. NOT A SINGLE STORY is open to the public, with an exhibition and educational programme continuing until 29 July 2018.

In response to NOT A SINGLE STORY, curators Anthea Buys and Nelisiwe Xaba presented a program of three site-specific performances that suggest transient relationships to the experience of sculpture. The performances on the program were durational in nature and it took place during the private viewing of NOT A SINGLE STORY hosted at the NIROX Sculpture Park on Saturday 26 May 2018.

The performance program showed works by Dean Hutton (SA), Jessica Doucha (SA) and Dina Danowicz (MZ) all of whom propose subtle spatial transformations that draw the viewer into a dynamic of complicity, or even conspiracy, with the artist. In Doucha’s piece Equanimity, the artist used gold leaf to enhance an architectural anomaly within the double-volume studio space in the NIROX residency while suspended precariously from the ceiling. The act is linked to the ancient Japanese philosophy of Kintsugi, the art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, where flaws are embraced. Doucha creates conceptual links to this technique to examine the notion of mending an area in celebratory reverence rather than focusing on the absence.
Dean Hutton, performed a site-sensitive version of their ongoing performance Goldendean, presents their own body as a formal anomaly in a world that associates health and propriety with cis-gendered body norms. Goldendean is an evolving public performance by Dean Hutton exploring the fascination with the flesh of non-normative queer bodies and how they inhabit and take space in public. The work hangs on the gaze of the viewer, and then Hutton’s decision to either acknowledge, interact or ignore the viewer. The performance attempts to deal with issues around the gaze, whiteness and the capital, of bodies, identity.

Mozambique-born artist Dina Danowicz is physically absent from her performance, entitled Protocol Room, and instead presents the audience instructions or suggestions that either invite them to invoke the work or insert the work in their life regardless of their desire for it to be there. The artists performing in the program took a variety of approaches but remain linked by their demand on the viewer to be a participant and a creator.

Young poets and jazz artists Bongani Sibanyoni, Thebe Mmushi, Velaphi Maphosa, Xabiso Vili, Zanele Kunene part of Pretoria-based NPO Hear My Voice performed original pieces at the official launch event. Soweto-based band Urban Village performed gave a live performance with sounds ranging mbaqanga and maskandi blues to folk rock and funk.

The private viewing of NOT A SINGLE STORY was hosted by the Swedish Embassy and Her Excellency the Swedish Ambassador Cecilia Julin: “It’s fantastic to have the Swedish sculpture park Wanås come and visit its colleague NIROX and hopefully NOT A SINGLE STORY is only the beginning of a long and fruitful friendship,” when asked to comment on the exhibition.

NOT A SINGLE STORY is the result of the collaboration between artists, Wanås Konst and the NIROX Foundation, which began in 2015. Elisabeth Millqvist and Mattias Givell, curators of NOT A SINGLE STORY, were in attendance and gave a guided tour of the sculpture exhibition.

NOT A SINGLE STORY and its comprehensive educational programming aimed at children and youth to expand understanding of life and art, is supported by The Swedish Postcode Lottery with additional support from the Embassy of Sweden, Pretoria and Swedish Institute. The exhibition NOT A SINGLE STORY and the educational exchange with talks, tours and workshops is presented in the NIROX Winter Exhibition Program context.

Embassy of Sweden in South Africa




February/March 2020

















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