Affinity: a two-man exhibition with Benon Lutaaya and Justin Dingwall

Lizamore & Associates presents a two-man exhibition, Affinity, by Benon Lutaaya and Justin Dingwall. This exhibition opens on 5 May 2016 at 18:00.

Affinity showcases new work by Benon Lutaaya and selected works from Justin Dingwall’s Albus series, as well as collaborative work between the artists. Centered around the artists’ ethereal figures, this exhibition explores the construction of beauty through what is generally seen to be ‘un-beautiful’. Nearly every major philosopher has engaged with questions about beauty, including the great figures of ancient Greek philosophy such as Plato and Aristotle, as well as contemporary writers like Umberto Eco and Andrea Borghini. Both Lutaaya and Dingwall join these conversations through their own intimate portraiture works. Simultaneously, these artists choose unconventional subjects, often seen as ‘the other’, people on the outskirts of society, to portray in their works.

In this particular body of work, Benon Lutaaya references his own lived personal experiences as an artist in order to explore the relationship between freedom and development. He interrogates the ways in which a heightened desire and search for freedom is both a basic constituent in itself and a catalyst for unlocking creative potential. And, he is inviting the viewer to not only see, but experience the feelings this relationship provokes through his work. Lutaaya internalizes the figures and emotions he is depicting, aiming to capture the innermost essence of the minds of his subjects. While he continues to allow the quirkiness, the peculiarities of his subjects to shine through, this exhibition signals a conceptual shift in his creative approach. It is organically evolving beyond his signature portraiture paintings. The waste paper material in his work remains a communication metaphor for the vulnerability of human life, the fragility and resilience of his subjects. 

Like Lutaaya, Dingwall immerses himself into his subjects, depicting individuals with albinism with the utmost respect and understanding. Dingwall’s photographic works are 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 beautiful. Dingwall’s intention is for the images to become a celebration of beauty in its difference. Those living with albinism in South Africa and nearby countries have been subjected to extreme prejudice and acts of violence. The artist aims to change the way people with albinism are seen in order to break social stigmas around this condition.  “These works 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” says Dingwall. These emotive works encourages the viewer to not only view, but rather feel the beauty of people with albinism.

This exhibition opens at 18h00 on Thursday 5 May 2016 and ends on 28 May 2016 at Lizamore & Associates, 155 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood, Rosebank.  Please join us at the opening for drinks, live entertainment and to meet the artists.