Hotels and Better Lives
Every town has its hotels, from the grand to the frankly run-down, and each hotel has its own ambience from bland international style to the idiosyncratic. For the visiting artist, each hotel room becomes a temporary studio, a base from which to explore the hotel itself - the pool deck, the restaurant, etc - and the area round the hotel. For the length of the visit, the hotel will be home and work space.
Sue Williamson's new body of work, 'Hotels', is a picture diary of the artist's travels and encounters, and an investigation into the publicity promises of the brochures each hotel displays on the reception desk. Included on the exhibition is the witty video installation Welcome to the Jet Hotel, a major award winner on the 2004 Brett Kebble Art Awards.
The second body of work is the powerful video and print series 'Better Lives'. Migrants, exiles and refugees all share the experience of displacement. Whether fleeing from political persecution war or seeking better economic opportunities, people from all over Africa have come to Cape Town, seen as the city of opportunity at the foot of the continent, to make a new life. Here, the newcomers face fresh difficulties gaining a foothold in communities already struggling to give their own families better lives.
In this series of six filmed portraits, the subjects are listening for the first time to an edited version of their life story, recorded on a previous occasion. The seriousness of each participant in the project is reflected in the intensity of their facial expressions. In this update of the classic African photographic studio genre, the black and white backdrop is a photo of Cape Town's Table Mountain.
Sue Williamson lives and works in Cape Town. She is an internationally acclaimed artist who last year alone exhibited work at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C., in Athens, on the Dakar Biennale, at the Museum Bochum, in Germany, in Alexandria in Egypt and at the Museum of World Cultures in Gothenburg in Sweden. Her work is in almost all the important public collections in this country, and last year she was a major award winner on the Brett Kebble Art Awards.
Click to read more about 'Better Lives I and II.
Opening reception: Wednesday 11 May, 6pm
Group exhibition. Joáo Ferreira Gallery, 28 February - 26 March 2020
From the Inside
Sue Williamson at Joáo Ferreira, by Ruth Sacks , ArtThrob Issue No. 94, June 2005