The Incidental Daddy – Exhibitions

Today I recommend two exhibitions, one on in the city all month, and another on the weekend of 25 to -27 February. Good for some artistic inspiration while you’re lingering longer at Daddy’s.

The first is at the IZIKO South African National Gallery, an exhibition of photographs titled Roger Ballen and Boarding House. If you are brave and interested in a glimpse into a world that is intense and surreal in its beauty, this exhibition is for you. Roger Ballen grew up in the USA and developed his skill when he started travelling through dorpies (small towns) where poor rural white communities showed signs of social collapse. He has used many of the same people as subjects over the decades and in the late 1990s began to work less in a documentary style and more like a choreographer or director.

Roger Ballen's Roger Ballen's "South African Briothers"

In Ballen's Boarding House, his photographs are theatrical, tense, posed yet absolutely real. His imaginative world includes puppies, rats, wire, drawings and old furniture in a way that is part-tragic, part-comedic, but all unsettling. Some may find it disturbing. I felt like a voyeur, seeing things I wouldn’t normally see. I loved it.

In addition to Roger Ballen's exhibition, the gallery is also hosting Borders, a collection of photography from Africa and its diaspora, which featured on the Bamako African Photographic Biennale 2009.Very moving and beautiful insight into the world of the African immigrant and refugee. More at

On a more colourful note, Ardmore Ceramic Art is presenting their Ivory and Ebony exhibition at Cellars-Hohenort in Cape Town during the last weekend in February. If you don’t know Ardmore, it’s very much a story of the Zulu people, their rhythm, colour, dance and song, and, of course, African imagination that has led to the creation of incredible work.


Established on the foothills of the Drakensberg, the artists produce highly prized fine art.  I visited the artists here and was both humbled and inspired by their talent, collaboration and sense of community. Each piece of work is not only unique, it is also the work of two artists. The first moulds the shape and tells a story through form. The second selects the piece of their choice and adds colour and texture through paint. The pride in the much-valued end-product is shared. The exhibition will show their new range and is titled Ivory and Ebony, one of the pieces is shown below. 

One of the Ardmore artists painting in the Drakensberg One of the Ardmore artists painting in the Drakensberg

That’s me for the week. I encourage you to find the time to be inspired by these great and very different works.

Dawn Jorgensen, The Incidental Tourist 

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