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Womxn Led, Womxn Run, Womxn Celebrating Eclectica Galleries


Eclectica Galleries eclecticacontemporary.co.za

Eclectica is proud and excited to be focusing and prioritizing womxn artists, thinkers, creators and makers. It is within the well-rehearsed, well-memorized and often noted “male dominated industry” of gallery and exhibition spaces that it becomes important to stand back and acknowledge the Eclectica Galleries. Too often there is a recognition of need for change or shifting the quotas and representations in various industries but not often enough is there support for those trying.

“I’m leaving evidence. And you got to leave evidence too. And your children got to leave evidence… We got to keep it as visible as our blood”. (Jones 1975)

Above: Kara Taylor, The Shape Shifter, 2018, mixed media on canvas, 76.2 x 101.6 cm Right: Leila Fanner, The Lightness of Being, 2018, Oil and oil pastel on wood, 120 x 120 cm


Georgia Lane, Profile, Mixed media on Canvas, 2011, 25 x 35.5 cm

At Eclectica Galleries the team is largely womxn-run, led by the formidable and brilliant Shamiela Tyer. Shamiela Tyer remains the only woman-of-colour gallery director, that I know of, in Cape Town and leads a team of womxn staff. Together the team has been growing the gallery group from a single space to four distinct and impactful contemporary galleries in Cape Town’s CBD over just three and a half years. Initially starting a small antique gallery in Chelsea, Wynberg seven years ago, Shamiela has been collecting art since she was 19 and has an incredible collection of art, design pieces and antique furniture. Her knowledge of aesthetics and notions of value is rich and exuberant and her generosity is endlessly amazing to me, with her time, patience, space and intentions. The Cape Town CBD galleries have been built up to grow rapidly, hosting over 15 exhibitions yearly across the four spaces of Eclectica Contemporary, Eclectica Design and Art, Eclectica Print and Eclectica Collection. The gallery group has exhibited in various local art fairs and will be attending AKAA in Paris later this year, continuing to encourage and promote narratives from and of the African continent. The Eclectica Galleries are growing, building, expanding and leaving visible evidence, exploring crucial stories and representations of bodies and identities who are often seen as tools for a checklist, rather than as insightful and necessary existences.

NIna Holmes, 2018, oil on fabric (Detail)

The galleries’ exhibition plan and focus to constantly bring in new ideas is reflected in the work of artists from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Burkina Faso, Egypt, DRC, Zambia and even Germany and the United States of America. The practice of seeking and exploring new perspectives and to support emerging artists rings true in the exhibitions produced and the artists that are invited in.

As a gallery, the notion of representation and inclusivity is constantly at the forefront


“I’m leaving evidence. And you got to leave evidence too. And your children got to leave evidence… We got to keep it as visible as our blood”. (Gayl Jones 1975)

of the planning and working, with five solo exhibitions by women artists taking place from August to November, including a womxn-only exhibition at Eclcectica Print earlier this year. The gallery is currently supporting Femme Projects by hosting a donations drive for art supplies in support of a camp and workshop they will be hosting later this year. On each of the group exhibitions, there has been a focus on accessing new womxn artists and finding new voices to include into the often-exclusive art scene. For the month of September,

Eclectica Contemporary will host Nina Holmes, for her solo exhibition Un|safe and Eclectica Collection will exhibit Leila Fanner’s solo Ceremony for the Soul. During the month of August, Georgia Lane exhibited her solo In this Time and in October, Eclectica Contemporary will welcome Japanese, Joburg-based artist Asuka Nirasawa for her highly anticipated solo exhibition. In November, the Eclectica Collection invited artist is Kara Taylor, an American-born artist and gallerist who has been working in South Africa over the past two years. She presents her body of work titled Everything I have seen and heard for the month of November. At this year’s FNB Joburg Art Fair, Eclectica Contemporary will show Leila Fanner’s work alongside Hussein Salim and Lars Fischedick, in conversation as to

how the work is singularly striking and yet also complementary paired amongst other artists.

The galleries that fall under the Eclectica name resound and vibrate with constant change, yet remain singular in the focus of encouragement, support and accessibility for a wider notion of inclusivity. The galleries function as exhibition spaces but also welcome discussion, engagement, workshopping and interaction. With nine womxn involved in the day to day running, the conversation changes and allows for new narratives to be accessed. This, I am sure, is cause and a call for celebration.

Above: Asuka Nirasawa, Cell a, 2013-2017, Acrylic on round canvas, 50.2 cm in diameter.



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