top of page

Whitechapel Gallery and Sharjah Art Foundation Present Major Gavin Jantjes Retrospective

London, June 2024 — This summer, Whitechapel Gallery and Sharjah Art Foundation, in collaboration with The Africa Institute, are proud to present a landmark exhibition of the acclaimed South African artist and activist Gavin Jantjes. Curated by Salah M. Hassan, alongside Gilane Tawadros and Cameron Foote, "To Be Free! A Retrospective 1970–2023" will be on view from June 12th to September 1st, 2024, at Whitechapel Gallery in London. This extensive exhibition builds upon Jantjes' major solo show organized by Sharjah Art Foundation, which ran from November 2023 to March 2024.

As the most comprehensive solo presentation of Jantjes' work in the UK to date, the retrospective showcases over 100 prints, drawings, and paintings, many of which are being exhibited in the UK for the first time. The exhibition offers an in-depth exploration of Jantjes' five-decade career as a painter, printmaker, writer, and curator, highlighting his pivotal contributions to the discourse and representation of Africa and its diasporas.

Exhibition Highlights:

  • Extensive Collection: More than 100 works, including groundbreaking prints and metaphorical portrayals of the global Black struggle for freedom.

  • Career Spanning Decades: A comprehensive overview of Jantjes' artistic evolution from figurative and metaphorical art to his recent non-figurative paintings.

  • Unique Perspectives: The exhibition emphasizes Jantjes' critical role in furthering conversations around African identity and diaspora, shaped significantly by his exile to Europe.

A key feature of the exhibition is a 45-minute documentary, "To Be Free," by Paul Jantjes, produced by Studio 3 Oslo in Norway. The documentary will be screened throughout the exhibition period, offering visitors a deeper insight into the life and work of Gavin Jantjes.

Curatorial Excellence:

  • Salah M. Hassan: Chancellor of Global Studies University, Dean of The Africa Institute in Sharjah, UAE, and Distinguished Professor at Cornell University, leads the curatorial team.

  • Gilane Tawadros: Director of Whitechapel Gallery, contributes her expertise in contemporary art and curatorial practice.

  • Cameron Foote: Whitechapel Gallery Curator, brings a fresh perspective to the exhibition, enhancing its narrative and visual impact.

This collaboration between Whitechapel Gallery, Sharjah Art Foundation, and The Africa Institute marks a significant cultural moment, celebrating Gavin Jantjes' influential career and his enduring impact on contemporary art and activism.

"To Be Free! A Retrospective 1970–2023" invites audiences to engage with Jantjes' profound and powerful body of work, reflecting on themes of freedom, identity, and resistance that continue to resonate in today's global context.



bottom of page