Galerie Ron Mandos is proud to present (Re)Pose, an exhibition curated by Azu Nwagbogu (Director of the African Artists’ Foundation). The exhibition is an exploration of figurative painting by WonderBuhle (South Africa) and Eniwaye Oluwaseyi (Nigeria), contemporary artists that offer sated states and familial histories as a form of portraiture and protest towards forms of oppression and representation of Black bodies throughout contemporary histories.

(Re)Pose is a multi-layered exhibition. The word itself is defined variously as a form of rest or being in a state of calm, yet it could also mean to be situated in a particular place. How is this meaning reflected in contemporary painting about Black identity?

(Re)Pose examines portraits that repudiate prejudicial archetypes of Black people portrayed as labourers, slaves, criminals, workers, athletes, martyrs and heroes. Recently, images of violence against Black bodies have become hyper-visible in mainstream media, where they are used as symbols to rally activism for racial justice. The artists’ rejection of racist archetypes which serve consumerist visual and material culture, opposes normalising the perception of Black identity as being in a constant existential struggle, a fight for visibility, survival and perpetual victimhood.

Re(Pose) explores how portraiture of Black subjects goes beyond representation towards a radical form of activism. Here the subjects are not celebrities, superstars or famous personalities. Instead, they are relatives, friends and associates – new focus that forms part of the Black archive of experience.  The works by WonderBuhle and Eniwaye Oluwaseyi are not about “Black Excellence” or “Black Misery”. These artists do not feel the need to represent these extremes. They are interested in their normative existence where a common humanity resides.

ABOUT Eniwaye Oluwaseyi

Eniwaye Oluwaseyi is a self-taught Nigerian artist from Kogi state. He holds a Bachelors in Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering from the University of Ilorin. His practice is primarily centered around portraiture and impressionistic realism, working with various media to portray individual narratives, as he believes everyone has a unique story to tell.

Oluwaseyi sees himself as a critic and an observer. His paintings are influenced by societal and political injustice, racial conflict and pressures of modern life. Working in oil, charcoal and acrylic on canvas, he uses bold and vivid colors representing human figures with visible and striking brush strokes to give his paintings a strong physical presence. “I try to combine unusual mediums to show I go beyond the borders of religion, race and tradition”, he says.

Eniwaye Oluwaseyi navigates through the intricate struggles that form the backbone of individual tales of existence, working with various media to tell the stories of individuals in society. His art works are impregnated with the struggles and experiences of individuals, evoking strong feelings of hope and redemption in the minds of viewers who connect with his pieces.


ABOUT WonderBuhle

WonderBuhle, born 1989 in South Africa, is a Durban-based visual artist from Kwa-Ngcolosi, a village that is still ruled by a chief. He started making art as a hobby at the age of nine. He says that his mother encouraged him to explore art as a career as he used to play with charcoal from the fire and draw stick figures on the walls of the house as a child.

WonderBuhle received his first formal training through the BAT Centre Artists in Residency (AIR) Program and went on to study fine art through the Velobala apprenticeship program at Durban University of Technology, under the mentorship of Themba Shibase.

The artist states: “I understand my artistic practice as a space between my inner soul, my dreams and my identity. I communicate my views from where I am standing as a black youth in South African society and the world at large. South Africa is in a moment of self-realization; reflecting and embracing its cultural diversities, whilst rewriting its stories through the lenses of young people who are curious, like myself.”

WonderBuhle had his first solo exhibition at the Durban Art Gallery in 2018 and has been included in numerous group shows at Unit, (London, 2020); The Art House (Wakefield, 2018); Michaelis Gallery (Cape Town, 2017); KZNSA (Durban, 2015) and the African Art Centre (Durban, 2014). In 2016, he was the recipient of Bremer Kunststipendium Art Grant (three-month residency) and in 2020; he took part in the La Brea Studio Artists Residency in L.A.