Images of Belief in Africa
Edited by Fiona Rankin-Smith.
Figuring Faith: Images of Belief in Africa stems from an exhibition of the same name at the Standard Bank Gallery in 2006, curated by Fiona Rankin-Smith. The book, published in collaboration with WAM (Wits Art Museum), documents and extends the exhibition, bringing together the debates and discussions on faith and art that the exhibition gave rise to, and shedding light on the ways in which art interprets, exemplifies and challenges belief and ritual. Through full-color images and wide-ranging essays, Figuring Faith explores themes such as sacred spaces, death and sacrifice, taboo, the missionary gaze, the demonic, ancestors and spirit presences, confession, catharsis and revelation. Its consideration of historical, ‘traditional’ and contemporary artworks makes it a major contribution to our understanding of art’s relationship to the desire for transcendence. Among the contemporary artists included are David Goldblatt, Jackson Hlungwani, Selinah Makwana, Gerhard Marx, Azaria Mbatha, Santu Mofokeng, Nelson Mukhuba, Johannes Segogela and William Kentridge.