A rainbow is made up from all kinds of different colours and only occurs under special conditions. These features also apply to the culture of South Africa. The country has eleven official languages, at least as many different peoples and an extremely turbulent history. The Rainbow Nation is a term that Nelson Mandela and Desmund Tutu used after apartheid was abolished. They wanted to leave the racist past behind and express their pride in the diversity of their mother country through this term.
During apartheid the different population groups were strictly segregated and severe restrictions applied to black people. This led to an underground of black artists and an international cultural boycott, which kept South Africa isolated for a long time. Since the free elections in 1994, the art world seems to have burst open, and developments have gained momentum. While there is a great deal of attention for the economic and political changes in South Africa, changes on a cultural level have remained more in the background until now.
Precisely these developments can be seen in 'The Rainbow Nation'. The artists reflect on their identity through self portraits, the use of materials specific to South Africa and symbols from their cultures. The photo series and sculptures on display also reveal attention for the current living conditions of the people and animals of South Africa. The politics of apartheid and the violence connected with it form another theme that recurs in many of these sculptures.
'The Rainbow Nation' thus sheds light on all kinds of aspects of the culture of South Africa and colours The Hague in all the hues of the rainbow. The exhibition is put together by Annelies Brans-van der Straeten.
Every sign with a work of art has a QR code. A QR code contains information that refers to information on the Internet. If you have a smartphone with a QR reader installed on it, you can read information about the artists and the works of art by scanning the QR code with the camera of your phone.
The exhibition is accompanied by a bilingual catalogue, 'The Rainbow Nation. Hedendaagse beeldhouwkunst uit Zuid-Afrika / Contemporary Sculpture from South Africa', with contributions from Annelies Brans-van der Straeten, Robert Ross, Chris Reinewald, Esther Schreuder, Musha Neluheni and Amber-Jade Geldenhuys.
The exhibition runs until 30 September 2012.