Turiya Magadlela (b. 1978 Soweto, South Africa) and Gerda Scheepers (b. 1979 Tzaneen, South Africa) both make use of fabrics to instill a strong sense of materiality in their work, though they do so with contrasting artistic intention. Magadlela creates abstract compositions using culturally-loaded fabrics that harness the sociocultural connotations of the material, and the subjectivity of the viewer. Scheepers’ work hybridizes painting, sculpture and installation to create objects that she describes as “performative”, ascribing anthropomorphic qualities to them.
Magadlela and Scheepers address the intimacy of the body and interior space. However, the themes that they share illustrate their differences in context. Though both artists are South African, the history of apartheid has contributed to the widely differing nature of the spaces they portray. Scheepers’ dissection of interior space places emphasis on the social and psychological by activating the everyday. Magadlela’s representation of interior space is more politicised. This is further illustrated by the forms of memorial that they offer through their art. Scheepers chooses to pay tribute to personal relationships, while Magadlela’s works form monuments to women she knew in her childhood or the oft-forgotten heroes of the struggle against colonialism and apartheid.