Of tradition and modernity


Johannesburg - Instagram sensation Tony Gum has finally got a solo exhibition, titled Ode to She, at the Christopher Moller Gallery in Cape Town.

The show, which opened last Friday, strikingly expresses the evolution of culture and the multitudes she contains.

It also brings to light questions about worlds old and new.

“Tradition is the fuel of culture,” says Gum.

For her exhibition, Gum set about combining modern technology with traditional themes to draw a bridge between the two, creating a beautiful union that celebrates and elevates a new way of life.

Tradition and culture evolve; tradition needs to evolve to keep up with modern times.

Fortunately and unfortunately, this will make people feel uncomfortable, she reckons.

Her work, often portraying topless women, raises questions about how women are objectified in art.

To her, however, the work is about more than nudity.

It is beyond the being of herself, Tony Gum.

She speaks of a broader narrative in which she is the subject, an anchor that drives the point.

Gum, who Vogue magazine once named the “coolest girl in Cape Town”, now aims for her work to get physically beyond her.

She wants to document other women’s stories through her writing, imagery and film.

Her dream is for her work to be a focus of study and to act as a foundation for educational and art development within African communities and beyond.

Although most of the works of art featured here are from her solo exhibition, some images, including the ones with a baby and the milk jug, are part of a series called Milked in Africa, which was released last year.


(Photos: Tony Gum)

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