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Past Exhibitions

Umlindelo wamaKholwa - Sabelo Mlangeni

Umlindelo wamaKholwa - Sabelo Mlangeni

27 June - 28 October 2018


Curated by Kabelo Malatsie, Umlindelo wamaKholwa features the work of multiple prize-winning and internationally exhibited Johannesburg-based photographer Sabelo Mlangeni. The mostly black and white photographs focus on two South African Zionist church communities. Umlindelo wamaKholwa demonstrates an acute awareness of the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion, of separation and subjection, identification and objectification. The works also probe the artist's own belief as much as they explore the spiritual commitments of his photographic subjects.


Digital Imaginaries: Premonition

Digital Imaginaries: Premonition 

25 July - 23 September 2018


Curated by Fiona Rankin-Smith and Tegan Bristow, Digital Imaginaries: Premonition is an exploration by artists who imagine and critique how globalised digital technology systems shape and shift African futures. The works on display explore questions surrounding data, knowledge and decolonisation in a globalised information society. This dynamic and thought-provoking exhibition, at Wits Art Museum, is the second leg of a three city project, which took place in Dakar, Senegal in May this year and will conclude in Karlsruhe, Germany in November.  Institutions in each city are leading separate, but linked programs. The WAM exhibition is tied to Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival, an annual festival of culture, creativity and technology.


Beyond the Readymade

Beyond the Readymade

13 June - 9 September 2018


This exhibition examines the use of the found object - fragments or complete items that have been altered or joined to other objects to create a diverse range of artworks. It is drawn from WAM’s permanent collection. The project grew out of Dr Alison Kearney’s research for a Ph.D. in Art History. Beyond the Readymade considers how meaning and value shift when everyday objects are uprooted from daily life and transplanted onto an artwork or into a gallery or museum space. The exhibition also raises questions about the social context of the time, the viewer’s family, cultural and religious background, sex, race etc, and how the context of the object might impact the meaning and value of an object or artwork.


Ross Passmoor: Afterlife

Ross Passmoor: Afterlife

18 April - 15 July 2018


Afterlife by Ross Passmoor is a fragment of the South African multidisciplinary artist's creative Ph.D. His work examines some of the ongoing moments of making that constitute an artistic practice. Building on Tunnel Vision, a solo exhibition held at the Point of Order in 2017, the artist continues to explore  some of the ways in which discarded materials found near the artist's home can be worked with. A sense of history is thus generated through the material, as well as, a ‘rootedness’ to the spaces the artist himself frequents.


Alfred Thoba: A step becomes a statement

Alfred Thoba: A step becomes a statement

14 March - 3 June 2018


A survey exhibition of work by Alfred Thoba, a South African artist with a distinctive style and vision that has cemented his unique legacy. The show spans four decades and represents an in-depth and overdue look at a painter, whose work chronicles major milestones in South Africa’s political history and his own personal journey.


Writing Art's Histories: Exhibition Classroom

Writing Art's Histories: Exhibition Classroom

1 February - 1 April 2018


An exhibition of artworks that form the basis of a postgraduate programme in History of Art. The course aims to introduce students to the many ways that art’s histories can be told. Students develop original research based on objects in WAM’s collection.


Masixole Feni: A Drain on Our Dignity

Masixole Feni: A Drain on Our Dignity

25 October 2017 - end February 2018


In 2015 Masixole Feni won the Ernest Cole Award for his project - A Drain on Our Dignity. Feni is a freelance photojournalist who documents social issues in and around Cape Town, primarily the lack of service delivery and life of the marginalised. Photographing the lack of sanitation was not pleasant for him, but he did not want a photographer from outside the community telling their stories while he watched on. After all, “that too would be A Drain on Our Dignity and that’s what inspired this project”.Feni’s representation of inequality, structural violence and his own imaginative response through photography is in itself a reflection on human creativity despite the limits imposed by power. 


Gideon Mendel: Drowning World

Gideon Mendel: Drowning World

17 October 2017 - 25 February 2018


A powerful exhibition by South African-born contemporary photographer, Gideon Mendel. The 3 discrete bodies of photographic work, Submerged Portraits, Floodlines, Watermarks and a video titled The Water Chapters are part of an ongoing project that began a decade ago, where Mendel travels to various countries in the aftermath of devastating floods. The photographs demonstrate the artist's travels to various parts of the world and capture the reality of floods across cultural and geographical boundaries and illustrate the pervasive impact of climate change. 

Warhol Unscreened: Artworks from the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Collection

Warhol Unscreened: Artworks from the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Collection 

27 July - 8 October 2017


This major exhibition of one of the 20th century's most iconic and influential artists includes over 80 of the artist’s major screenprints including Flowers, Campbell’s Soup Cans, Muhammed Ali, Marilyn Monroe, Mickey Mouse and Superman. In addition, Warhol’s celebrated Rolling Stones Sticky Fingersrecord album, a selection of Interview magazine covers, and the renowned Birmingham Race Riot image will be on exhibition. The exhibition was made possible by Bank of America Merrill Lynch with additional support from BASA, Black Africa and KayaFM.

One colour at a time: Contemporary Screenprints

One colour at a time: Contemporary Screenprints 

27 June - 12 November 2017


Fine Art screenprinting continues to flourish in South Africa as is evident in the group of young and emerging artists whose work is showcased in this exciting exhibition. The exhibition was collaboratively curated with three Johannesburg printing studios - Artists Proof Studio, Prints on Paper and Division of Visual Arts, Wits School of Arts (DIVA) - who each used their own criteria to select works.

Curated Collaboratively by Alexandre Vosloo; Nathi Simelane and Shannin Antonopoulo from Artist Proof Studio, Minenkulu Ngoyi; Isaac Zavale and Rochelle van Eeden from Prints on Paper, Thabiso Kholobeng from the Division of Visual Arts, Wits School of Arts and Leigh Leyde; Gonstse Mathabathe; Fiona Rankin-Smith; Lesley Cohen and Julia Charlton from Wits Art Museum.


Show No Pain: The collected films of Michael MacGarry 1999 - 2017

3 May - 18 June 2017

Curated by Michael MacGarry


Wits Art Museum presents SHOW NO PAIN a solo exhibition by Johannesburg-based artist, Michael MacGarry. The exhibition is a survey show of MacGarry’s film and video work, from early animations as a student in 1999 through to a purpose-made two-channel film installation titled Parang, focused on the artist’s family history in the Far East.

The exhibition consists of sixteen works across short film, animation and feature-length video installation as well as text-based works describing films the artist has never made. The exhibition is built around several recurring themes in the artist’s filmic oeuvre. Notably: the interrogation of Modern architecture; historical cinematic representations of Africa; man and landscape; notions of entropy and the concept of eternal recurrence.

Moses Tladi (1903 - 1959)

15 March - 16 July 2017

Curated by Julia Charlton


Wits Art Museum (WAM) is excited to host the seminal exhibition, Moses Tladi (1903-1959) in celebration of Moses Tladi. Previously shown at Iziko South African National Gallery (SANG), Johannesburg viewers will now have the opportunity to explore the life and work of one of South Africa's great, but largely unknown landscape painters.The exhibition is accompanied by the book, The Artist in the Garden: The Quest for Moses
Tladi, edited by Angela Read Lloyd and published by Print Matters. The exhibition will
run until Sunday, 16 July 2017.

Overtime: representations, values and imagined futures of 'classical African Art'

22 February - 23 April 2017

Curated by Tatenda Magaisa and Katleho Shoro


Overtime is a collaborative exhibition that includes both past and present WAM student staff. The participants were encouraged to engage the museum’s ‘classical African Art’ collection from which they produced new multimedia works in order to question the value of the classical African items and the making of meaning.

The exhibition explores the various ways that African cultural material has been, is and can be represented, valued and imagined in the future. It considers the ideologies that have influenced archaic visions of the African cultural material, art and Africa itself. Thus, critical to the exhibition is the idea of the cultural material having relevance and meaning over time

Anathi Bukani, Kevyah Cardoso, Michael Cheesman, Rosa Elk, Luke Gibson, Leigh Leyde, Lebogang Mabusela, Gontse Mathabathe, Boitumelo Molalugi, Boitumelo Motau, Maxine Thomik and Matshelane Xhakaza.

Lifescapes: Six Object Biographies

1 February - 9 July 2017

Curated by Joni Brenner, Justine Wintjies and Stacey Vorster


Wits Art Museum is excited to invite you to Lifescapes, an exhibition that is the culmination of an innovative post-graduate course entitled ‘Writing Art’s Histories’, run by the Wits History of Art department. The course requires each student to write the ‘biography’ of a single object from WAM’s collection. The exhibition presents six objects researched by students in 2015 in dialogue with other objects and pictures, evoking aspects of their wider lives that students uncovered. The biographies are published in detail in an accompanying book of the same name. Lifescapesis the third in a series of linked books and exhibitions based on postgraduate object biography research and we are delighted to host it at WAM for the first time.

Off the Wall: An 80th Birthday Celebration with Linda Givon

11 August - 20 November 2016

Curated by Linda Givon in collaboration with James Webb and Josh Ginsburg


Linda Givon, legendary commercial art gallerist and South African arts supporter, celebrated her 80th birthday in August 2016. To celebrate this auspicious occasion, Wits Art Museum hosted an exhibition of works from Givon’s private art collection. Curated by Givon in collaboration with James Webb and Josh Ginsburg, this project will provide unprecedented access to important works and the stories that link them, as well as fascinating insights into the private person behind the public face of Linda Givon. Works on display included the very first William Kentridge that Givon purchased from gallery owner Reinhold Cassirer, powerful works by Dumile Feni, Sydney Kumalo, Willie Bester and Ezrom Legae. Givon nurtured the careers of countless important South African artists and in so doing developed her enviable collection. 


Walter Battiss: "I invented myself" The Jack Ginsberg Collection

6 July - 11 December 2016

Curated by Warren Siebrits


For more than 35 years, well-known art collector and philanthropist Jack Ginsberg has assembled an extraordinary collection of more than 700 artworks, books and ephemera by esteemed South African artist Walter Battiss. This collection was  shown at Wits Art Museum for the first time in an exhibition, curated by Warren Siebrits. While previous Battiss exhibitions were conceived thematically, this exhibition was organised chronologically.  The exhibition was accompanied by a 340-page illustrated book available in five different covers. Battiss merchandise such as scarves, T-shirts, crockery, wrapping paper and post-cards were also on sale. At the end of the exhibition, the collection became part of WAM's permanent holdings and form the nucleus of a major Walter Battiss Archive. The collection is available to scholars by appointment for research.

From the Heart: Personal Perspectives on the WAM Collection

8 June – 17 July 2016

Curated by Dr. Same Mdluli and Tatenda Magaisa 


From the Heart, an exhibition based on the first encounter with African art by all members of WAM staff - not only currators as seen in other exhibitions - explored their experiences in today’s context.  It encouraged a nuanced engagement with the artworks WAM staff work with and care for by offering a distinct and visceral engagement with artworks, artefacts and objects that are part of their 'cultural heritage'.


Into the Light - An exhibition by Marcus Neustetter

27 April – 19 June 2016

Curated by the artist


Marcus Neustetter explores archaeological and cosmological mysteries in his quest for meaning. His artistic investigations focus on the spaces in-between, within and between these disciplines.  The artist uses light as a medium for storytelling in his artistic practice. By inviting audiences from various communities across South Africa to engage with a variety of light-sources, he enables a playful interaction that ultimately culminates in a series of light and long-time exposure photographs and video work. These serve not as art objects in and of themselves, but rather as traces of local encounters in time and space. 

Black Modernisms in South Africa (1940 – 1990)

6 April – 19 June 2016

Curated by Prof. Emeritus Anitra Nettleton in collaboration with Dr Same Mdluli and Bongani Mahlangu


Black African Modernisms (1940-1990) coincided with a meeting of the international research project, Multiple Modernisms with participant art scholars from around the world.  The artworks on show, by over 20 artists drawn from Wits Art Museum’s permanent collections, explored some ‘Modernist’ approaches that interested black South African artists from the 1940s to 1990.


When Tomorrow Comes

16 March – 29 May 2016

Curated by Jacki McInnes, Professor Jyoti Mistry and Professor Michael Titlestad


Globally and nationally, publics are repeatedly confronted with narratives that suggest that environmental, social and economic catastrophe is inevitable. This exhibition ased pre-eminent South African, African and European artists to participate in working through apocalypticism to confront the inevitability of this conclusion, and to think beyond it to forms of survival, regeneration and rebirth. The result was both powerful and thought-provoking, with some controversial moments.

The Sound of Silence - Alfredo Jaar

24 February – 10 April 2016

Curated by Lara Kosseff


The Sound of Silence is a major installation work by New York based artist, architect and filmmaker Alfredo Jaar. It takes as its point of departure, South African photographer Kevin Carter’s Pulitzer Prize winning photograph of a starving child being stalked by a vulture in Sudan (2006). The installation, in an aluminium structure contained an 8-minute film with a silent narrative of the sombre story. It highlighted a complex set of ethical and personal questions about the act of looking and the responsibilities that follow. The exhibition was generously supported by the Goodman Gallery. 

Satellite Cities – Svea Josephy

20 January – 6 March 2016

Curated by the artist


In Satellite Cities, Svea Josephy presented large colour photographs that explored what connections between places with the same names. The works, displayed as diptychs, investigated the South African urban landscape through communities’ adoption of names of other places connected to conflict and war. The photographs place the suburbs and areas surrounding South Africa’s cities at the heart of a network of interconnected perspectives and relationships.

The exhibition was organised in conjunction with the Wits City Institute with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


24 November 2015 – 6 December 2015


NEWWORK15 is an annual exhibition of work by young artists in fulfilment of a BA Fine Art degree at Wits School of Arts. The exhibition, in 2015, was located at Wits Art Museum, The Point of Order project space, and surrounding studio spaces in the Wits School of Arts and Arthouse.  Basing their work on responses to the urgent issues raised by the national student movement in the last months of 2015, students also participated in assessment of their final bodies of work, thus developing a collective curatorial framework.

See more here


5 November 2015 - 6 February 2016

Curated by Dr. Laura De Becker and Leigh Leyde


This exhibition explored the richness of the WAM's collection and highlighted the various ways the unique university collection of African art has inspired creativity amongst students, artists and researchers across a wide range of disciplines. Collaborative work with the Wits Music School,  Wits Digital Art Department, Wits Fine Art Department, the University of Johannesburg Graphic Design Department and South African artists all formed part of this rich and exciting exhibition.

The exhibition accompanied by a book of the same name, waspart of a major mutliyear project at WAM, which was funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

A City Refracted - Graeme Williams, winner of the Ernest Cole Award

14 October 2015 - January 2016 

Curated by Graeme Williams


Graeme Williams is the third winner of the Ernest Cole Award, initiated by the University of Cape Town and named after documentary photographer Ernest Cole. Williams’ images explore the complex history of displacement and migration in Johannesburg. The works on exhibition reflected the shifting typologies of the inner city of Johannesburg through the use of an informal style, which suggests waves of movement and migration. 

Fak'Ugesi Lab: Exploring Technologies for the Future

12 September - 25 October 2015

Curated by Tegan Bristow and Irini Papadimitriou


Wits Art Museum  in collaboration with Wits Division of Digital Arts held an artist residency as part of the 2015 annual Fak’ugesi Digital Innovation Festival.  The WAM Basement Gallery was transformed into a ‘Fak’ugesi Lab’. Visitors were encouraged to engage with the four resident artists as part of their digital art-making process. Visitors also participated in workshops run during the 3 week residency. The creative outcomes of the residency were unveiled at a special event open to the public.

The exhibition was supported by the SA-UK Seasons 2014 & 2015, a partnership between the Department of Arts and Culture and the British Council.

Peter Schutz: An Eye on the World

10 June - 16 August 2015

Curated by Fiona Rankin-Smith, Walter Oltman and Jill Waterman


Peter Schütz: An Eye on the World focused on the extraordinary carved work of late sculptor Peter Schütz. Using his most favoured medium of jelutong wood, Schütz created exceptionally fine carvings which explore themes of violence, myth, religion and spirituality. Madonnas, saints and religious artefacts depicting the female figure are iconic symbols that influenced his work.

Supported by the Standard Bank of South Africa, Hans Merensky Foundation, Charles and Lilian Lloys Ellis, Business and Arts South Africa, Peter and Heidi Kurth, Sasha Fabris, Jill Waterman, Neil Dundas and Goodman Gallery.

Fundraising Auction Exhibition

13 - 27 May 2015 

Curated by Penny Siopis


This exhibition featured artworks donated by artists and collectors to be sold to raise funds for Wits Art Museum's Endowment. In addition to the donors of the artworks, the event was made possible by sponsors Bidvest, Hollard, Business and arts South Africa, Spier Wine Farm, Strauss & Co. Fine Art Auctioneers and Consultants, YSWARA LUXE, Ooh Lala Confectionary and Rosebank College. The accompanying catalogue was published by Wits Art Museum. 

Time and Again: A Penny Siopis Retrospective

22 April - 20 July 2015

Curated by Penny Siopis


Time and Again showcased a survey of the work of globally recognised South African artist, Penny Siopis. This exhibition reflected over three decades of Siopis’ creative production, and drew on the recurring themes of history, sexuality, race, memory, estrangement and violence. Many of the works were featured on her recent retrospective exhibition of the same title held at the Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town in the same year.

Between Darkness and Light - Jodi Bieber

10 March - 12 April 2015

Curated by Jodi Bieber


This exhibition was Jodi Bieber’s first major mid-career retrospective and included a selection of Bieber’s work from 1993 to 2015. The show traveled to South Africa for the first time after being exhibited at two major venues in Germany – Stadthaus Ulm and Museum Goch – between 2012 and 2013. The exhibition included close to 80 photographs from some of Bieber’s most significant bodies of work. This was the first time that many of these works are being exhibited in Bieber's home town of Johannesburg.

Funding and support from Stadthaus Ulm, Museum Goch and Goodman Gallery.

Unsettled Frontier Wars: One Hundred Years War of Resistance by Xhosa Against Boer and British

Photographic exhibition by Cedric Nunn.

10 March - 12 April 2015


Cedric Nunn the South African photographer acclaimed for his photographs taken during apartheid, aims to instigate social change and highlight lesser seen aspects of society with his photography. Unsettled Frontier Wars dealt with the nine wars that Xhosa people were subjected to between 1779 and 1879 in their fight against Afrikaner and British colonial settler forces.  Nunn, aware that these acts of colonial aggression and Xhosa resistance are neglected, documented the land where these struggles took place as a form of memorialisation.

The exhibition project launched in Grahamstown in 2014 and was made possible through the support of a Mellon Foundation Scholarship and Galerie Seippel.

Stars of the North: Revisiting Sculpture from Limpopo

3 March - 12 April 2015

Curated by Fiona Rankin-Smith, Julia Charlton and Lynne Cooney


Drawing on WAM’s holdings and prompted by a generous donation by Trent Read, this exhibition re-looked at the histories and work of a group of sculptors  living in the rural areas in the 1980s. All learned their skills in the context of indigenous wood and clay sculptural traditions and were then drawn into the contemporary commercial gallery system.  The exhibition explored the artists’ experiences of and responses to contemporary worlds and offered insights into some of the political and artistic debates of the time.

A small catalogue accompanied the exhibition. 

Tapestries - William Kentridge

19 November 2014 - 22 February 2015 

Curated by Fiona Rankin-Smith


In late 2014 William Kentridge’s work was presented in three major art venues in Johannesburg. Johannesburg Art Gallery hosted The Refusal of Time, The Goodman Gallery exhibited a series of landscape drawings and Wits Art Museum showcased tapestries, created in conjunction with Marguerite Stephens’s weaving studio, plus associated works. The artist described showing the tapestries at WAM with its remarkable collection of African art as continuing an ongoing project of showing the indeterminate and at times non-existent boundaries between artisan, artist, craft and art. 




26 November - 14 December 2015


NEWWORK14 featured a selection of dynamic and innovative works by the graduating artists of the Division of Visual Arts (DIVA) at the Wits School of Arts (WSOA). An annual showcase it marks the public debut of a new generation of young artists. With 33 exhibiting artists, NEWWORK14 spanned a diverse range of media, from performance, photography, drawing, painting and sculpture to multimedia installation and interactive events.

NEWWORK14 was curated collaboratively by the graduates. 

Passing the City Through You - Catherine Gfeller

26 September - 9 November 2015

Curated by Catherine Gfeller


In September 2013, Gfeller undertook a research residency in Johannesburg. Passing the City Through You exhibited the videos, photographs, audios and texts created during her stay. Gfeller’s photographic and video work is based on incessantly pulsating urban landscapes. She aims to transform the anonymity of the city through the intersection of urban landscapes and human presences. The exhibition images highlighted the inner city of Johannesburg, as a succession of friezes composed by collage, montage, and superimposition. 

Ngezinyawo - Migrant Journeys

10 April - 20 July 2015

Curated by Warren Siebrits


This exhibition coincided with the celebration of 20 years of democracy in South Africa. However, the issues surrounding migrants and migrancy addressed in this exhibition are part of a nearly 200 year history that continues to profoundly affect our society today.

This exhibition briought together the heritage of many southern African language groups, through the inclusion of film, photography, contemporary artworks, artefacts from ethnographic collections, archival documents and interviews.

A book entitled A Long Way Home: Migrant Worker Worlds 1800 - 2014 was published to accompany the exhibition and includes essays by leading local and international academics.

DOING HAIR: Art and Hair in Africa

19 August - November 2014

Curated by Warren Siebrits


The political, social, cultural and economic implications of hair and hairdressing as expressed through artworks, explored in the exhibition. Extraordinary objects used to protect, style and adorn hair, historical and contemporary artworks, barbershop posters, films and installations from Wits Art Museum and other public and private collections were included. Hairdressers who work in neighbouring Braamfontein participated through a project that culminated in selected hairstyles being professionally photographed and included in the exhibition

This exhibition was sponsored by Black Like Me, South Africa’s iconic hair care company and  a catalogie was produced.

Jodi Bieber

6 April - 27 July 2014

Curated by Jodi Bieber


A solo exhibition of photographs that focused on the female body, this exhibition formed an interesting sequel to the queer and trans artiuclations show.  Bieber’s uncomfortable confrontation of stereotypes through their alternatives was manifested in large –scale photographs.

Queer and Trans Art-iculations: Collaborative Art for Social Change

15 December 2013 - 30 March 2014

Curated by Dr. Laura De Becker, Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow.


Wits Art Museum, in partnership with Wits Centre for Diversity Studies and Inkanyiso held the exhibition that features the work of two visual activists:  Zanele Muholi Mo(u)rning and Gabrielle Le Roux Proudly African & Transgenderand Proudly Trans in Turkey. The exhibition coincides with the official launch of the Wits Centre for Diversity Studies.

Homosexual and gender non-conforming people are discriminated against, victimised, penalized and criminalized. As insiders and concerned citizens within the LGBTI community who make art, Muholi and Le Roux employ art-activism as a resistance tool and a way to reveal how the LGBTI community exists within society. The works of both artists spoke to the complexities, challenges, freedoms and dangers of living beyond the gender binary.

For the duration of the exhibition, facilitators who could speak to the issues represented in the work from lived experience were in attendance to assist with queries and provided impromptu guided tours of the work, free of charge. WAM  also created an interactive space for visitors to respond to the exhibition and share their experiences and thoughts.


15 December 2013 - 30 March 2014

Curated by Dr. Laura de Becker, Andrew W. Mellon Pstdoctoral Fellow


The  second year Wits History of Art course includes course work on landscape representations maps being one kind of representation that is most concerned with space, place, movement and temporality. Mapping/ Marking therefore included maps that are artworks, artworks that are made from maps and maps that categorise art. The images reflected on how mapping and marking the landscape are produced in the process of documenting one’s environment.


13 November 2013 - 12 January 2014


C.Now showcased artworks acquired by the Wits Art Museum in 2013. WAM's collection that numbered close to 10 000 African artworks at the time, continues to grow each year as the museum pursues the goal to become the leading museum of African art in Africa. New acquisitions included classical African art pieces purchased for the Standard Bank African Art Collection and classical and contemporary artworks that were donated during the year by the museum’s generous supporters.

Iian Godfrey: Legacy of Mine

13 November - 15 December 2013

Curated by Iian Godfrey


lan Godfrey was the 2012 winner of the Ernest Cole Photographic Award that was established to stimulate creative work in photography in southern Africa. The work explored the consequences of mining on South Africa’s land and people – the need for economic growth versus protection of the environment. Once a symbol of wealth and formidable force in the development of SA, the mine today reveals the scars of neglect and decay, which pose a threat to our society.

The exhibition was accompanied by a major publication produced by Jacana, launched at the exhibition opening.


12 - 24 November 2013

Opened by Zen Marie, Angie Makwetla, Chairperson, National Arts Council, David Andrew.


NEWWORK13 was an exhibition of work by the graduating class from the Division of Visual Arts (DIVA) at The Wits School of Arts (WSOA) and represented the public debut of a new generation of young artists. This group show was a diverse mix of contemporary and current responses to questions that are informed by a location in Johannesburg, South Africa and the world.

This Exhibition was accompanied by a catalogue produced by WSOA.

HART Portfolio

26 October 2013 - January 2014

Curated by Fiona Rankin-Smith


This exhibtion was display of a portfolio of prints created for sale to establish a History of Art student scholarship fund, featuring artists Joni Brenner, David Koloane, Dorothee Kreutzfeldt, Serge Alain Nitegeka, Walter Oltmann and produced by Talya Lubinsky and Niall Bingham. A set of prints was donated to WAM.

Jeremy Wafer: Survey

10 September - 3 November 2013

Curated by Jeremy Wafer


The exhibition formed part of Wafer’s submission for a PhD at Wits in which in which he reflected on a 30 year career of art making and which traced, revisited and rearticulated themes and ways of working which have characterized his work over this time. Wafer explores possibilities of materials as both metaphor and structure in works that allude to themes of visibility and invisibility: to the present and the absent, to the inside and the outside. Wafer’s work occupies something of a unique place in South African art, drawing as it does on diverse precedents as minimalism, arte povera and land art but always with a sensitivity to resonances of the local and particular. Accompanied by a publication produced by the artist.

Dale Yudelman - Ernest Cole Award

5 - 25 September 2013

Curated by Dale Yudelman


Cape Town-based documentary photographer Dale Yudelman was the winner of the prestigious inaugural Ernest Cole Photographic Award. He exhibited a body of work shot on his cell-phone that he described as ‘vibrant daily reflections, shot in passing, with the simple motivation of noticing what is’. 

Umhlaba 1913 - 2013: Commemorating the 1913 Land Act

29 August - 10 November 2013

Curated by David Goldblatt, Bongi Dhlomo-Mautloa, Pam Warne and Paul Weinberg.


The centenary of the Land Act provided an unparalleled opportunity to experience the stories of land in South Africa in ways that had not been told before. The exhibition offered insights into the complexity and contested nature of our landscape. Traversing past and the present, works by more than 30 photographers, from a collections of 12 archives, sketched the history of land dispossession and its legacies. 

Again, and then again, as well, too

24 July - 25 August 2013

Curated by Gabi Ngcobo, Donna Kukama, and Lerato Berang.


The annual Wits School of Arts (WSOA) Martienssen Prize Exhibition showcases finalists selected from projects submitted by senior Wits Fine Arts students. 2013’s theme invited students to reconsider the discarded, the ignored and the forgotten creative endeavours from earlier in the year or previous years of study. This was not an invitation to submit older work but rather to conceptualise new possibilities, approaches and solutions.

Meaning Motion: Tegan Bristow and Nathaniel Stern

12 June – 18 August 2013

Curated by Tegan Bristow and Nathaniel Stern alongside Fiona Rankin-Smith


How does movement perform meaning? The artworks on this exhibition incorporated cutting edge interfaces, like  Microsoft Kinect with custom-made software, so that full-body interactions from public participants made spoken word and sounds, projected animations, texts and drawings transform with their movements. Viewers could explore, experience, and practice making meaning. African artworks, from WAM’s collection, that rely on the active participation of the ‘viewer’ to generate their final forms were displayed alongside the interactive digital works. 

Susan Woolf - Taxi Handsigns: Symbolic Landscapes of Public Culture

12 June – 14 July 2013

Curated by Susan Woolf


The exhibition formed part of Woolf’s submission for a PhD at Wits. The body of work involved the documentation and exploration of the system of informal hand signals that commuters use to access the mini-bus taxi transport in Gauteng. Conceptual artwork, paintings, books, stamps and short films, incorporated taxi hand signs as a symbol of the city of which they are such an integral part.

The exhibition was accompanied by a small publication created by the artist.


15 May – 15 November 2013

Curated by Dr Justine Wintjes and Dr Laura de Becker


This exhibition, was designed to question the differences between artworks and artefacts for the third year students in art history and fine arts. It included contemporary and historical works from the African art holdings at WAM.

Song for Sekoto 1913 - 2013

25 April – 2 June 2013

Curated by Mary-Jane Darroll


This exhibition was organised in celebration of the centenary of the artist’s birth. Although he spent most of his life in exile, Gerard Sekoto is considered by some to be the ‘Father of South African Art’ and his work achieved extremely high values in the international art market. Yet, in South Africa, he was still relatively ‘unknown’. This exhibition focused on the relationship between Sekoto’s texts and his paintings and sketches from public and private collections. 

The exhibition was sponsored by Merrill Lynch, a subsidiary of Bank of America Corporation, with support from BHP Billiton, Business and Arts South Africa, Webber Wentzel and the National Lotteries Distribution Trust Fund. It was also accompanied by a publication. 

Izilwane/Diphologolo: Animals and Art in Africa

13 March – 12 May 2013

Curated by Professor Anitra Nettleton


This exhibition, curated by Prof. Emeritus Anitra Nettleton, was drawn from the Wits Art Museum collections and loosely organised around various categories of animals that inhabit the village, countryside, farmlands, bush/ forest, water and air and ones that inhabit multiple contexts. There was an additional category – animals of the imagination - that combines physical elements of various animals (including humans).  The works were by both historical and contemporary artists. 

A Lasting Impression: The Robert Hodgins Print Archive

28 February – 7 April 2013

Curated by Julia Charlton


The Robert Hodgins Print Archive was established in 2007 when renowned South African artist Robert Hodgins donated 400 prints from his personal collection to Wits Art Museum. This exhibition presented a selection of items from this archive, with works in many different media dating from 1971 to 2009 all displaying the artist’s critical and historically informed engagement with the human figure.

The exhibition was accompanied by a major publication produced by Wits Art Museum.

The Art of Life and Death (and everything in between)

28 February – 7 April 2013

Curated by Curated by Julia Charlton


Human societies tend to view life and death as an endlessly repeating cycle. Childhood follows birth. Initiation leads to adulthood, senior status and ultimately death. In all cultures, albeit in different ways, these cycles are marked by the making of particular objects, dress and sculptures and by the performance of dances, music and stories. This exhibition presented diverse examples, from WAM’s historical and contemporary collections, selected for their aesthetic appeal.

Art, Power and Society

30 January - 13 March 2013

Curated by Warren Siebrits


Justine Wintjes and Professor Anitra Nettleton selected and displayed a range of objects from the WAM collection for use in the teaching of the second year Wits Hstory of Art course. The themes centred on notions of landscape, figure and portrait. 

Wits 90 Treasures

21 September – 14 October 2012

Curated by Professor Anitra Nettleton and Rochelle Keene


An exhibition drawn from some of Wits’ extraordinary collections of objects and books was part of the university’s 90th birthday celebrations. Original diaries of former South African president Nelson Mandela, Australopithecus Sediba fossils, 5 000 year old clay tablets from Ur in Mesopotamia, Nuremburg Chronicles dating to 1 493 and an iron lung and were some of the diverse and important items included as well as artworks from WAM holdings. 

Santu Mofokeng - Chasing Shadows: Thirty Years of Photographic Essays - See more at: https://www.wit

12 September –14 October 2012

Curated by Corinne Diserens 


This major retrospective exhibition of photographic essays by world renowned South African Santu Mofokeng included photographic essays from the last thirty years. It was organised by Berlin-based curator Corinne Diserens, in association with the Jeu de Paume in Paris. The exhibition was accompanied by a major publication. 

Annual Martienssen Prize

24 August –2 September 2012


The Annual Martienssen Prize exhibition is selected from projects submitted by senior Wits School of Arts (WSOA) Fine Arts students and adjudicated by a panel of judges chosen by both students and staff. The prize, named in honour of Heather Martienssen, the first Professor of Fine Arts at Wits, is awarded to acknowledge artistic excellence in a work produced by a senior student. The exhibition was organised by Gabi Ngcobo of Wits School of Arts. 

WAM Fundraising Auction exhibition

23 – 30 May 2012


WAM celebrated its first year in the new museum with the launch of an endowment campaign and an auction of contemporary South African art. The week-long display of the works donated for auction culminated in a gala event that raised R5.5 million for the WAM Endowment. Accompanied by an auction catalogue with short texts by CCAA members Professor Nettleton, Dr Paul Davis and Pamela Sunstrum, Lesley Cohen and Dr Laura de Becker from WAM. 

WAM! Seeing Stars

9 May – 20 August 2012

Curated by Julia Charlton, Fiona Rankin-Smith and Professor Anitra Nettleton


The inaugural exhibition in the new Wits Art Museum celebrated and highlighted the stars of the WAM collections and some of the many people who have contributed to its development over the last 80 years. 

WAM New Aquisitions 2010 - 2012

3 October 2012 – 16 February 2013

Curated by Professor Anitra Nettleton and Rochelle Keene


This exhibition evolved out of a display of linocuts installed as part of the Wits School of Arts printmaking teaching programme and included a range of artworks that had been acquired for the WAM collections through purchase and acquisition.