Invoking the body and its boundaries with ambiguous non-binary figures, Jo Rogge’s (b.1963) intuitive, expressive work probes and excavates fundamental beliefs about gender. She interrogates body politics, identity, sexuality and relationship dynamics in a social world shaped by exclusivities and stereotypes.
Through her fluid renderings of bodies and gendered expression, she calls into question the dichotomous notions of ‘male’ and ‘female’, challenges heteronormative assumptions, and creates a new crucible for queer voices. At the same time, she poses challenging and uncomfortable questions about difference and belonging.
Rogge lives and works between Namibia and South Africa. In September 2016, she received a grant from the Other Foundation to create a new body of work addressing identity, stigma and discrimination in the LGBTI community in Namibia. This project culminated in a series of 28 photographic portraits of LGBTI women and the exhibition I am a different me at the Franco Namibian Cultural Centre in Windhoek. For the opening night, the exhibiting institution raised the rainbow flag alongside the Namibian flag – an historic moment.
In 2016 Rogge also completed a residency at the Centre for Contemporary Art and Sustainability in Barcelona, Spain. She has been awarded a second residency to Spain in June 2017, during which she will extend her identity-based work and interests in queer art. She plans a series of linocuts which address gender non-conformity, and a second series of large-scale portrait drawings which draw on the phenomenon of manufactured identity, prevalent in social media, and how this manipulates relationships between individuals.
Rogge is the founder of the SO Namibia Collective, which provides support to Namibian artists and enables informal peer-to-peer engagements between young, developing artists and their more established counterparts.
For Jo’s most recent catalogue from her All Your Secrets (Johannesburg 2017) and Art Africa Fair (Cape Town 2017), click here.