Cape art picks: May 13 2011

The story goes that artist and curator Riason Naidoo came across a hard copy of Drum magazine from 1955 while browsing in a basement library.

Naidoo was familiar with Drum’s iconic Sophiatown images but was amazed to find a huge store of photos and stories that spoke of the Indian experience in South Africa. The revelation formed the basis for a long-term investigation into alternate South African Indian identities that resulted in a book and photographic exhibition, Indians in Drum, in the 1950s. Iziko’s new exhibition of the project gives glimpses of Indian underworlds largely ­photographed in Durban during the 1950s. It also acknowledges previously unknown photographers in the South African landscape, such as Ranjith Kally and GR Naidoo, who were based at the Drum office in Durban. An exhibition featuring Kally’s work since 1945 runs concurrently.

Until June 30. Iziko South African National Gallery, Government Avenue, Gardens.

Ian Grosse’s first solo exhibition, Other Things, offers viewers insight into his practice. Working exclusively from existing images, Grosse uses painting as a method of translation, which he celebrates as a creative act, a method of destabilising meaning, authenticity, canonicity and ­pomposity. Grosse exhibits alongside another emerging talent, Abri de Swardt, who is currently doing an honours degree in visual studies at the University of Stellenbosch.

His exhibition, Walk on Water, uses ­photos and videos to create a collage of Age of Enlightenment tales of exploration, acts of colonial expansion, baptismal imagery and images from men’s glossy magazines that forms surreal ‘aesthetics of drowning”. Full of madcap flights of fancy and strange philosophical questions, Walk on Water is decidedly odd but sparkles in its oddity.

Until June 11. Blank Projects, 113-115 Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock.

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