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Curated by Ernestine White (Iziko Museums of South Africa),
Tina Smith and Ayesha Price (District Six Museum)

“My journey through life – starting in District Six, my work as an art teacher, public speaker – has also been about bringing people together. My travels had the same objective and then again the Thupelo, Thapong and Patchipamwe workshops. It is about learning to work together and learning from each other.
The strands are about binding us together – socially, culturally and artistically.”

Lionel Davis is best known for his complex linocut prints that narrate experiences of his youth in District Six and his incarceration on Robben Island. The first colour linocut prints he developed at Rorke’s Drift are included in the GATHERING STRANDS exhibition. Apart from his individual works, Davis has collaboratively worked with the annual Thupelo Workshops, where he produced several of his major abstract paintings on exhibit. In addition, GATHERING STRANDS features a number of posters produced at the iconic Community Arts Project (CAP), where Davis helped to establish the Media Project in the early 1980s.

Throughout his artistic life, Davis relied on art making as a means to record and reflect on many of South Africa’s political transformations. Unable to afford a camera, he took to drawing the last sorrowful days of District Six. A former resident, he helped to establish the District Six Museum, and was involved in several of its seminal creative projects, and later became a board member.

A collaboration between Iziko Museums of South Africa and the District Six Museum resulted in this retrospective exhibition of works by Lionel Davies, artist, educator, anti-apartheid activist, political prisoner and former District Six resident. The exhibition opened at the District Six Museum on Davis’ 81st birthday.

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