ABOUT THE ARTIST
Justin Dingwall (b.1983) was in Johannesburg and achieved a Baccalaureus Technologies in Photography Cum Laude from the Tshwane University of Technology in 2004. Dingwall has exhibited extensivly both locally in South Africa and Internationally. He has been selected for various awards including, SA Taxi Foundation Art Award 2015, Sasol New Signatures 2014, and IPA – int’l photography awards 2013.
The artists creates images that resonate with emotion and challenges traditional notions of beauty. His works leans towards the unusual, and avenues less travelled with cultural undertones.
ALBUS BY JUSTIN DINGWALL
Albus developed into an exploration of the aesthetics of albinism in contrast to the idealised perceptions of beauty, beginning with an interest to capture something not conventionally perceived as “beauty”. Dingwall began this project with the ethereal portraits of Thando Hopa, a legal prosecutor who is using her visibility to address the negative perceptions surrounding albinism. Dingwall’s inspiring new work uses specific elements to foreground the symbolic meaning behind each work. These symbols, like water, butterflies and snakes, have inspired his perceptions as an artist, and are significant in his intention to affect the viewers’ perspective.
Dingwall uses water as a symbol to reflect society’s perceptions. Water suggests self- reflection and it is often used in literature as a symbol of change. As in the title of one of his works “In with the new”, Dingwall reinterprets the old English saying as “out with old ideologies and in with a new perspective”. Alongside the use of water, the use of snakes connotes transformation - as in the shedding of old skin to make way for new and also, as in medical discourse, to represent healing. The symbols of light and dark are a reflection of his medium. Dingwall uses the characteristic nature of photography to capture a unique frame of reference. Dingwall paints with light in such a way as to represent the revealing of the unseen. Light represents truth, and it is contrasted against the element of darkness to emphasise the unenlightened state of mind of previous misconceptions.
Dingwall’s intention is for the images to become a celebration of beauty in difference. “They are not about race or fashion, but about perception, and what we subjectively perceive as beautiful. I wanted to create a series of images that resonate with humanity and make people question what is beautiful”. The artist’s interest lies in the unique and the different. “To me diversity is what makes humanity interesting and beautiful.” says Dingwall.
FLY BY NIGHT
In his latest body of work, Fly by night, Justin Dingwall continues his ongoing investigation of depicting beauty in difference, whilst focussing specifically on xenophobia, diaspora and migration across the African continent and the negative stigma’s that are often related to these constructs.
The black swan is a central symbol in these images, depicting beauty in difference as well as acceptance of dissimilitude. Simultaneously the black swan also evokes the Black Swan Theory, a metaphor that describes an event that comes as a surprise, has a major effect, and is often inappropriately rationalized after the fact with the benefit of hindsight. The term is based on an ancient saying which presumed black swans did not exist, but the saying was rewritten after black swans were discovered in the wild.
Similarly, these images express the perception of the unforeseen and unexpected calamity that occurs with xenophobic attacks and migration. In what some perceived as predictable circumstance in reaction to the pressures placed on society, others viewed with shock and disbelief. The black swan theory emphasises that knowledge comes with hindsight. These images aim to provide a means of coming to terms with these societal issues, like xenophobia, diaspora and migration, in an effort to increase our awareness towards changing our perceptions.
2015 - Albus
2016 - Affinity
2017 - Albus, II Bienal del Sur. Pueblos en Resistencia, Venezuela
2016 - Albus, NWU Gallery, Potchefstroom, South Africa
2016 - This is not a Black Swan, Woodstock, That Art Fair, ARTCO Gallery, South Africa
2016 - “Making Africa. A Continent of Contemporary Design”, CCCB Centre de Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona, Barcelona
2016 - TARGETS | Paris - the unseen works, ARTCO Gallery, Aachen/Germany
2015 - Albus, FNB Johannesburg Arts Fair, Lizamore & Associates Gallery, South Africa
2015 - Sasol New Signatures Top 100, Pretoria Art Gallery, Pretoria, South Africa
2015 - Absa L'atelier Top 100, Absa Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
2015 - TWENTY: Art in time of Democracy, curated by Gordon Froud at the University of Johannesburg and the Pretoria Art Museum on behalf of the University of Johannesburg
2015 - Representations of Otherness and Resistance in collaboration with the Centre for Africa Studies at the University of the Free State (UFS) from the 20th of May to 19th of June 2015. Presented by The Johannes Stegmann Art Gallery co-curated by Annali Dempsey and Angela De Jesus
2015 - Making Africa. A Continent of Contemporary Design, Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain
2015 - Making Africa. A Continent of Contemporary Design, Virta Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, Germany
2015 - Can’t fool me now, Curated by_ Collective, Berlin (Snake)
2014 - Albus, Rooke Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
2014 - Albus, M.I.A Gallery, Seattle, America
2014 - Thami Mnyele Fine Art Award 2014, Top 5 FInalist, South Africa
2014 - Sasol New Signatures Top 100, Pretoria Art Gallery, Pretoria, South Africa
2014 - Absa L'atelier Top 100, Absa Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa,
2014 - TAF, Turbine Arts Fair, Art Source, Johannesburg, South Africa (ALBUS, 3 Marys)
2014 - Adobe Creative Cloud Mosaic Launch, Lincon Center, Alice Tully Hall, New York, USA (48 artists selected from around the world)
2014 - Twenty, Contemporary Art From South Africa, Turchin Center for the Visual Arts, Appalachian State University, North Carolina, USA, Curated by Gordon Froud and Professor Karen Von Veh(ALBUS: 2 Vulnerables and Black Veil)
2014 - Art 14 London, Rooke & van Wyk Gallery, Art Fair, London, United Kingdom
2013 - 1:54 Contemporary African, MIA Gallery, Art Fair, London, United Kingdom
2013 - FNB Johannesburg Arts Fair, Rooke & van Wyk Gallery, South Africa
2012 - Incurious, Sibisi Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
2005 - Portraying Life, Image Hub, Pretoria, South Africa