The thundering downpours could not stop the large crowd gathered at the Oliewenhuis Art Museum to attend the opening of the IN STRANGER TIMES ArtbankSA 2021 New Acquisitions exhibition on 3 March 2022. Marking the first post-lockdown exhibition for the programme, the exhibition is the artistic reflection of the times. Unlike previous annual acquisitions exhibitions which showcased all the works acquired in the year, in this installment the artworks were specifically curated for the theme reflecting the artists vision of themselves and society, embracing the everyday South Africa in a world in crisis.


IN STRANGER TIMES exhibition opening on 3 March 2022


After a welcome by Ester Le Roux, curator of Oliewenhuis, Nonto Sheryl Msomi, exhibition curator and project manager of the Art Bank of South Africa delivered the opening address. In her address she explained that as the future of humanity is under many threats such as global pandemic, anthropogenic climate change, and the development of technology, the exhibition explores what constitutes life; the relationship between individuals and technologies, the connection between bodies and the earth, and highlights how the changing times present society with an opportunity to adjust its expectations.

Msomi encouraged those in attendance to meet future challenges with a different perspective that is rooted in recognizing our shared humanity, interconnectedness, and interdependence with not only humans but also the environment and other natural beings.

The exhibition theme was conceptualized with the 59th Venice Biennale International Art Exhibition theme curated by Cecilia Alemani, The Milk of Dreams, in mind. The Milk of Dreams theme takes its title from a book by Leonora Carrington in which the Surrealist artist describes a magical world where life is constantly re-envisioned through the prism of the imagination.

The IN STRANGER TIMES exhibition will be on show at the Oliewenhuis Art Museum in Bloemfontein until 8 May 2022.


Artists Andre Rose, Sylvester Mqeku, Lesego Motsiri and guest discuss The winter strain (2021), a work by Mqeku