The complex entanglements of history, place, identity and belonging are are the heart of Ann Gollifer’s (b. 1960) work. Her art draws on her South American, British and African heritage, and their shared histories of conquest and colonialism.
See Ann’s catalogue for AKAA Paris 2018 here.
Her work often probes the deep connections between people and the natural world. Human, plant and animal forms are grafted in various combinations – often in stages of metamorphosis and hybridisation. The layered forms ask and answer questions about how we view ourselves, and how those selves fit into schemas of the social, political, and natural world. Visually intricate and perceptually dexterous, Gollifer’s works expose the complex entanglements of existence, identity, place and belonging. ‘People out of place’ best sums up the themes and subjects to which Gollifer most eloquently speaks.
In the series Thinking of You Thinking of Me, Gollifer overlays some of nature’s most feared and spurned animal species onto self-portraits that have themselves been overlaid onto Haarlem hand print fabric patterns. Each layer or surface of these works represents and enhances tensions of dislocation and assimilation. The combination of terrifying animal images with hypnotic nudes both horrifies and delights. Systems of domination including imperialism and patriarchy come into question as Gollifer plays tricks with ideas of the exotic. In Metamorphosis Gollifer elaborates the notion of the exotic even further, and in exquisite detail: what effects does this anthropocene – this age of human impact – have on the planet? How have politics and power defined ecosystems, human ‘races’, language, food, and so forth? What impacts our ideas about who and what belong where?
Gollifer has lived and worked in Gaborone, Botswana since 1985. A multidisciplinary artist, her own navigation of identity informs much of her work: born in Guyana to British and Amerindian parents, she spent her early life in the Solomon Islands and Trinidad before being educated in Britain and eventually completing a Masters degree in History of Art at Edinburgh University in 1983. In South Africa, Gollifer has worked with printmakers Mark Attwood and Joe Legate. She has exhibited at CIRCA Johannesburg (2011) and Everard Read (2009). Her work has been collected by the British Museum (Sainsbury Africa Galleries) as well as by the National Museum of Botswana, the Triangle International Art Workshops and UNISA. In 2016, she was invited to speak at the British Museum about its collection of work by African women artists. An Artist member of the Thapong Visual Art Centre, Gaborone, Gollifer was part of the founding executive committee. In 2016, she was invited to speak at the British Museum about its collection of work by African women artists.
Exhibitions, Awards & Collections
2018 Also Known As Africa (AKAA), Guns & Rain, Paris
2018 Cape Town Art Fair, Guns & Rain, Cape Town
2017 “All Your Secrets”, with Jo Rogge, Guns & Rain, Johannesburg
2017 “Omang”, with Shepherd Ndudzo, AVA Gallery, Cape Town, Johannesburg
2017 Art Africa Fair, Cape Town
2016 Turbine Art Fair, LL Editions and Guns & Rain.
2015 OMANG? – “Who are you?”, solo exhibition at Sophie Lalonde Art, Gaborone
2015 “Under an African Sun”‘ with Leo Hassaris, London.
2015 Turbine Art Fair, LL Editions and Guns & Rain.
2011 “Living on a Horizon” Solo exhibition, Circa, Johannesburg.
2010 “What am I doing here Ke Dirang Ha?” ‘Solo exhibition, BICHA Gallery, South Bank, London.
2008 Open Studio, Dumbo, Triangle Workshop. New York.
2006 “Linhas de Sangue, Territories of the Heart”, Solo exhibition, Museu Nacional de Arte, Maputo, Mozambique.
2002 “Monomotapa”, residency exhibition, Fordsburg Studios, Johannesburg.
2001 “Hoche Koche”, multi media performance with Steve Dyner and Tumbuka Dance Compnay (showed at HIFA Harare, Grahamstown Festival, Dance Festival Avignon, Dance Umbrella Johannesburg)
2000 “Three Women Three Perspectives”, group show with Coex ae Qgam (Dada) and Neo Matome Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Windhoek & Gaborone; funded and hosted by the Alliance Francaise, Botswana.
Works in Public Collections
The Sainsbury Africa Galleries, The British Museum, London, UK
The Triangle International Art Workshops, New York, USA
University of South Africa (UNISA), Pretoria, South Africa
The Alliance Francaise, Johannesburg, South Africa
The National Museum, Gaborone, Botswana
The Thapong International Art Workshop, Gaborone, Botswana
The Mbile Art Collection, Lusaka, Zambia