Nokukhanya Langa

14 Sep-6 Nov 2022


Saatchi Yates is delighted to present a solo exhibition of new paintings by emerging mixed-media artist Nokukhanya Langa, opening on Wednesday 14 September, delving into the world of modern media and internet culture while breaking the rules of traditional painting. 

An exploration of figuration and abstraction, the new exhibition will see over 20 new paintings from Langa’s continued research into the loss of the image, and by extension, of reality; using the Internet as a source of inspiration to understand how we gravitate towards images. The new series sees popular culture and image-collecting at its heart, with Langa noting: “I see paintings as a laptop that has a lot of tabs open: one painting can be really quiet, or loud, or eccentric, and still all come together in one collection”. 

A playful reconfiguration of her own kaleidoscopic internal clutter, Langa’s work often features elements of childlike playfulness, personal histories, cultural undertones, allegories, fairy-tales, and tongue-in-cheek humour.

Born in Springland, Maryland, USA, and now based in Ghent, Belgium, Langa has grown up living between the United States, India, South Africa, The Netherlands, and Belgium. Her art practice reconciles the pluralities of her personal story, mixed cultural heritage, and lived experiences; all coming together to form part of her large-scale paintings, filled with vibrant imagery in a stream-of-consciousness style. 

Unlearning the rigidity of her training in traditional oil painting, Langa hopes to learn to be freer with this new body of work, and break away from painting norms.

Abstract motifs such as colour, swirls, and other fluid shapes work in unison with more recognisable motifs like text and signs. Shifting back and forth between figuration and abstraction, the result is an agile use of approachable jargon and aesthetics that convey the more subtle, and incendiary subtext of the works in a kind of hallucinatory reality. 

Never simply unambiguous or determined; Langa’s paintings become carriers through which private histories, political and cultural undertones, allegories, subversive narratives, and humour reveal themselves. 

Nokukhanya Langa’s exhibition at Saatchi Yates will open on Wednesday 14 September and will be available to view for free until Tuesday 15 November.

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