March 16, 2024 - April 12, 2024


Frans Thoka’s solo exhibition, “Godimo Le Fase,” is an immersive journey through the complexities of South Africa’s history, focusing on the enduring repercussions of the Native Land Act and its devastating impact on black communities. Translated as “What’s up there is down here,” the exhibition’s title encapsulates the profound themes of displacement, trauma, and resilience that permeate Thoka’s artworks.

Central to the exhibition are Thoka’s reflections on forced migration and its aftermath. Through a series of evocative works, he delves into the unrecorded, dislocated, and abandoned graves that bear witness to the injustices faced by generations past. These unmarked resting places serve as poignant symbols of historical trauma, compelling viewers to confront the uncomfortable realities of South Africa’s past.

In each of Thoka’s pieces, there is a recurring motif of trees and mountains, rich with symbolism. These natural elements evoke the landscapes where historical atrocities occurred, from the fruit of the mountain, where killings took place, to the tranquil riverbanks where loved ones were laid to rest. By juxtaposing images of serene landscapes with reminders of past violence, Thoka prompts viewers to contemplate the interconnectedness of history, memory, and place.

The exhibition title, “Godimo Le Fase,” also speaks to the collective reluctance to confront the injustices of the past. In contemporary society, there is a tendency to seek comfort and avoid discomforting truths. However, Thoka challenges this complacency, urging viewers to revisit their roots and acknowledge the ongoing legacy of oppression.

Thoka’s artistic exploration extends beyond traditional narratives of history, encompassing the psychological and emotional landscapes of South Africa’s black communities. Through his use of monochrome colors, particularly black and white, he invites viewers to grapple with the complexities of memory and representation. By deliberately eschewing color, Thoka confronts the viewer with the stark realities of South Africa’s disrupted landscape, both physical and psychological.

In addition to his choice of color palette, Thoka incorporates unconventional materials into his artworks, such as prison blankets. These blankets, associated with incarceration and disaster relief, serve as potent symbols of comfort and despair. Through his artistic intervention, Thoka highlights the precariousness of comfort in the face of ongoing trauma and displacement.

Ultimately, “Godimo Le Fase” is a testament to the resilience and endurance of South Africa’s black communities. Through his art, Frans Thoka invites viewers to confront the uncomfortable truths of the past and reimagine a future rooted in justice, equity, and collective healing.


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