Gymnasium a series of works by Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi
This series of paintings titled “Gymnasium” by artist Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi began many years ago with one single work. The work depicted a gymnast warming up in front of a mirror at a gymnasium. It wasn’t until years late when Nkosi was looking back at the painting that her passion for the subject grew and she began to paint more works of Gymnast. For her there is a similarity between contemporary artists and Gymnast, each is watched closely through all their attempts, failures, and successes.
“Ideology is at work in this sport. Gymnastics has been used as a tool of propaganda, of control, of patriarchy and of nationalism. Defining what bodies should look like, what perfection is, what the ideal human is.” – Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi (Via https://www.stevenson.info/)
The works featured in “Gymnasium” don’t showcase the subject in action but rather showcases the events surrounding the performance. A painting titled “CEREMONY” shows three women huddled up preparing for their upcoming events. In another work titled “SALUTE,” we see one subject preparing to perform as she faces the judge’s tables. The reason for this is to shift the focus away from the failures and success but onto the humanity of the subject as they are more than just a performance on the mat.
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