SMAC Gallery  Johannesburg
Macho Mbadala 
Opening: Saturday, 10 June 2017 |  12 am
Exhibition: 10 . 06 . – 01 . 07 . 2017
1st Floor, The Trumpet
19 Keyes Avenue Rosebank
Macho Nne: Bright Manjano | 2017 | C-Type Print on Diasec Mount | 70 x 60 cm
SMAC Gallery is proud to present Macho Mbadala by Cyrus Kabiru. This will be the internationally acclaimed Kenyan artist’s second solo exhibition with the gallery. Kabiru is best known for his elaborate and detailed sculptural spectacles, or C-Stunners, constructed from urban debris.

This new series of work presents thirteen new C-Stunners, each complemented by a unique photographic portrait of the artist modelling his distinctive creations.

In this exhibition, the artist has chosen to produce his portraits in a unique edition, allowing for only one image to be released to accompany each pair of C-Stunners. Each single photographic release works symbiotically as one piece with its C-Stunner counterpart.

Visibly maturing over the past decade, and innovatively incorporating cast-offs both man-made and natural, the C-Stunners evoke discourse around ways of seeing and being seen. Often covering the artist’s entire face, there is a performative element to Kabiru’s practice – which can be linked to a re-invention of contemporary mask-making, a characteristic employed by artists such as Romuald Hazoumè from Benin and Gonçalo Mabunda from Mozambique.

Also featuring in Macho Mbadala is one of Kabiru’s Black Mambas – the artist’s deconstructed and reimagined version of the fixed gear bicycles that have achieved an iconic status in his home country and the central African region. The Black Mamba itself becomes a distinctive sculptural construction, celebrating the bicycle’s form and (non)function.

Macho Mbadala

Saturday, 10 June 2017 until 01 July 2017
Cyrus Kabiru  was born in 1984 in Nairobi, Kenya, where he still lives and works. He has exhibited frequently both internationally and on the African continent. Notable solo exhibitions include: Upcoming in 2010 at the Kuona Trust in Nairobi, Kenya; Cyrus Kabiru at the Kunstpodium T Gallery in Tilburg, Netherlands in 2011 and C-Stunners & Black Mamba at SMAC Gallery in Cape Tow in 2015. He was recently selected as one of Quartz’s Africa Innovators for 2016 in Nairobi, Kenya. In 2013, he was a fellow at TED’s The Young, The Gifted, The Undiscovered in the USA. That same year, Kabiru exhibited at the Lagos Photo Festival in Nigeria and his work formed part of Afrofuture: Adventure with Makers, Thinkers and Dreamers at the Milan Design Week in Italy, as well as in The Shadows Took Shape at The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, USA.
Kabiru‘s work was included in the seminal travelling exhibition Making Africa – A Continent of Contemporary Design, curated by Amelie Klein with Okwui Enwezor, first shown at the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany in 2015, and later at The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain and then at the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB) in Spain during 2016. The exhibition was most recently shown at the Kunsthal Rotterdam, Netherlands. Kabiru also featured in AFRICA – Architecture & Identity at the Louisiana Museum in Humlebæk, Denmark and Beyond Borders, the 5th edition of the Beaufort Triennial in West Flanders, Belgium, both in 2015.
Important group exhibitions include: Concealed Selections from the Permanent Collection at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, USA; Towards Intersections: Negotiating Subjects, Objects and Contexts at the University of South Africa Art Gallery in Pretoria, South Africa and Lumières d’Afriques, organised by the AAD Fund, at the Théâtre National de Chaillot in Paris, France during 2015.
In 2016, Kabiru was the resident artist at the Han Nefkens Foundation in Barcelona, Spain, where he was also the first artist to participate in the Flow Series talks programme – a joint initiative of the Han Nefkens Foundation and the Antoni Tàpies Foundation. Also in 2016, Kabiru was selected as a featured artist for The ARMORY Show’s Focus Section, African Perspectives, curated by Julia Grosse and Yvette Mutumba, in New York, USA. His work featured in Brutal Beauty: Violence and Contemporary Design at the MARTA Herford Museum of Contemporary Art in Herford, Germany; Unorthodox, curated by Jens Hoffmann, at The Jewish Museum in New York, USA; and the Climactic: Post Normal Design exhibition at The Carnegie Mellon University School of Design in Pittsburgh, USA.
Cyrus Kabiru was featured in the Gestalten publication titled Africa Rising: Fashion, Design and Lifestyle from Africa. His work was included in the most recent installament of the international travelling exhibition, Making Africa – A Continent of Contemporary Design, held at the Kunsthal Rotterdam, Netherlands and set to open next at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, USA (15 October 2017 – 07 January 2018). 


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