South Africa

Smell The Flowers While You Can: Lulama Wolf’s Works at OOA Gallery

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The exhibition, Smell The Flowers While You Can, is a group presentation of Megan Gabrielle Harris and Lulama Wolf’s works at OOA Gallery. Despite Wolf and Harris’ unique and distinct practices, what bonds these artists’ is their base appreciation and longing for a time when simplicity and naturalism reigned supreme, and the complexes and rigidity of modern civilisation were not a consideration. 

‘Smell the Flowers While You Can’ is a rallying cry for society today to question and address today’s mode of living, and to challenge the accepted norms, practices, beliefs, and values that have come to define our era and generation for the past century.

Lulama Wolf, Itokolle – Free Yourself 1 , 2023
Image courtesy of OOA Gallery

Based in Johannesburg, South Africa, Lulama Wolf (b.1993) explores the philosophy of humanism and naturalism as it pertains to the value attached to living a life of abundance, intimacy, and freedom, as well as the appreciation for the earth’s natural beauty and elements, which forms an integral part of her practice. Wolf is known for different forms of expression through photography and mixed-media digital collages.

Lulama’s abstract neo-expressionist paintings are reminiscent of, and a tribute to, prehistoric rock art and cave paintings, which are marked by smearing, human mark marking, and natural components such as soil, rock, and sand. In her practice, she uses sand fused with acrylic paint to create the raised texture that her canvases have become known for, thus generating the appearance that her paintings are remnants of an ancient cave wall. Her meticulous selection of paint pigments adds to her naturalist practice; muted palettes of indigo blue, earth brown, and forest green create a serene and balanced terrain for her minimalist subjects to inhabit and exist, providing an insight into, and perhaps even a longing for,  a simpler and less complex time and society.

Lulama’s subjects, in their dark, abstracted, elongated and distorted forms, are elegant, refined, loose and objectively beautiful to behold. While static in nature, the freedom of their expression and form generates a poetic motion that washes across the canvas, almost as if her figures are constantly in a state of song and dance.

The exhibition opened on the 15th of July, 2023. It will be on view till the 6th  of August, 2023. 


Iyanuoluwa Adenle is a graduate of Linguistics and African Languages from Obafemi Awolowo University. She is a creative writer and art enthusiast with publications in several journals. She is a writer at Art News Africa.

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