The Difference Loom

  • Posted: Aug 20, 2013

A visual contemporary art exhibition exploring textiles and technology.

Iziko South African National Gallery Annexe from 22 August until 27 September 2013

“The Difference Loom,” an exhibition exploring textiles and technology, is about our making and thinking, of textiles, art, technology and cultural values.  We sense the body in textiles, but not in technology.  We discern the analytical in technology, but not in weavings.  This exhibition is about those perceptions/disconnections, explored in that area where textiles and technology intersect.

This exhibition, hosted by Iziko Museums of South Africa at the Iziko South African National Gallery Annexe, opens to the public on 22 August 2013.  Curated by London and Cape Town-based independent curator Winnie Sze, the exhibition showcases works by 8 contemporary artists, 4 are from South Africa and 4, from the United Kingdom, who uses textiles as a medium for social critique.


Artists from South Africa:


Artists from the United Kingdom:

Quanta Gauld

Janis Jefferies

Keiskamma Art Project

David Mabb

Mbali Khoza

Richard Rigg

Fabian Saptouw

Nina Wakeford

Textiles invoke our haptic sense, we feel it (visually), and in particular what we sense is the body.  This is evident in Keiskamma Art Project’s “Keiskamma Guernica”, where we feel the suffering of those dying of HIV Aids and their mourners.  We also feel the human in Mbali Khoza’s work, though in exploring language and narrative, what we are sensing is the ephemerality of human creation. 

The historical link between the automated loom and the modern day computer is explored by Janis Jefferies, leading to a work that explores the abstract conceptual possibilities of textiles.  

Richard Rigg’s work is also about thinking, the artist’s, and ours in completing the art work.  Quanta Gauld’s work brings to the fore the issue of value and exploitation of labour.  In the context of the exhibition’s theme, we consider this relative to the machine. 

David Mabb’s work reminds us that man versus machine is one of our inheritances from the Industrial Revolution, and his work looks back to 2 significant socialist designers from the early age of the machine that had opposing beliefs about the hand-made versus industrialization.  Bringing us back to the contemporary, Fabian Saptouw looks at our fetish for the hand-made in art objects, and Nina Wakeford looks at our captivation with technology. 

The exhibition opens at 18:30 on Wednesday, 21 August at the Iziko South African National Gallery Annexe, St’ Johns Road and runs until 27 September 2013. Gallery hours are 10:00 – 16:00, Monday to Friday.

Media enquiriesto Shanique Hayward on 021 481 3890 or via email on



Iziko Museums of South Africa (Iziko) operates 11 national museums, the Planetarium, the Social History Centre and three collection‑specific libraries in Cape Town.  The museums that make up Iziko have their own history and character, presenting extensive art, social and natural history collections that reflect our diverse African heritage.  Iziko is a public entity and non-profit organisation that brings together these museums under a single governance and leadership structure.  The organisation allows *free access to all individuals on commemorative days, (*excluding the Castle of Good Hope and Planetarium). Visit our webpage at, join our online community on Facebook ( or follow us on Twitter (@Iziko_Museums) for regular updates on events, news and new exhibitions.

COMMEMORATIVE DAYS – FREE ENTRANCE (excluding Iziko Planetarium and Castle of Good Hope)

  • Human Rights Day: 21 March
  • Freedom Day: 27 April
  • International Museum Day: 25 May
  • Africa Day: 25 May
  • Youth Day: 16 June
  • National Women’s Day: 9 August
  • Heritage Day: 24 September
  • National Aids Awareness Day: 1 December
  • Emancipation Day: 1 December
  • Day of Reconciliation: 16 December
  • Castle of Good Hope and Planetarium, free only on International Museum Day and Heritage Day

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