Photographer: Paul Grendon
Lionel Davis Retrospective Exhibition: Gathering Strands
“Art is a celebration of life. I am concerned with cultural diversity, socio-political issues, poverty, injustice, racism, and xenophobia in my
Lionel is a former District Sixer and an ex-Robben Island political prisoner. He is described variously as an activist, storyteller, educator
Curated by the District Six Museum team, Tina Smith, Ayesha Price and Amie Soudien in partnership with Ernestine White from IZIKO, this retrospective art exhibition was a first for the Museum. The production and publication of the exhibition book, Awakenings was facilitated by ASAI [link to book blurb]. A worksheet was developed by Barbara Voss in support of the
The exhibition allowed us to journey with Lionel as his work challenges us to reflect and question the human condition. A few of his artworks where these themes are explored include: District Six lino-prints– ‘Vanaand Gaan die Poppe Dans’, ‘Home Sweet Home’, Memories of District Six, Robben Island lino-prints – ‘Welcome to Robben Island’, ‘Robben Island Remembered’, Train Series – ‘Long Wait’, ‘Derde Klas’ , ‘Journey Home’, and a series of mono-prints entitled ‘Dark Days Eighties’
The exhibition was included in the 2018 National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.
Based on a collection of his District Six pencil drawings in which he recorded popular landmarks during the last days of destruction, a map plotting these landmarks was developed for a Lionel Davis Heritage Day site walk brochure in September 2017 [link to brochure] Inspired by his Masquerade art series, the Heritage Day procession featured painted African masks, puppets and textile banners produced by District Six ex-residents, youth, artists and community members.