(b. 1987, Cape Town, South Africa)
Reimagining the history of people of “so-called coloured descent”, one in which they’re led to a promised land free of ignorance and self-hatred, Lady Skollie treads joy, ritual, sex and pain into her paintings, drawings, murals and performances.
Alive with emotional, political, sexual turmoil and loud questioning voices, Lady Skollie’s works depict relationships between godlike figures and flawed mortals singing, grunting, reflecting, gushing. Her characters writhe, twist and dance, queue and hold each other up whether on paper, architecture, or on the new coin that the artist designed for commemorate 25 years of constitutional democracy in South Africa.
Lady Skollie – given name Laura Windvogel – currently lives, works, performs and hustles for centre stage in Johannesburg, South Africa, with storytelling, ink, watercolour, crayon and woodcut printing as her weapons of choice. She describes her own work as ‘fire, ritual, Khoisan’, referring to the Khoisan indigenous people of southern Africa, who have lived in the region for thousands of years and to whom she connects the self-identifying ‘coloured’ community of South Africa – a multiracial group native to the area and distinct from the ‘black’ and ‘white’ population.
The moniker ‘Skollie’ is a widely-used derogatory term to describe a shady character, historically used in South Africa when a person of colour was in a place deemed unsuitable by the white populace. Lady Skollie embraces this shadiness, combining it with an interplay of masculine and feminine energies, creating a space where the disparate parts of her personality are reconciled. The artist explains, “I just like having an alias. You feel like you can take more risks under a pseudonym… there is a psychology behind aliases, a kind of strength that they give you”.
The artist’s work has been exhibited widely at galleries, community spaces and art fair across South Africa as well as in Europe and the USA. In 2017, along with Tschabalala Self and Abe Odedina, the artist contributed artwork for the stage design of a gala performance of The Children’s Monologues, a charitable event directed by Danny Boyle and held at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Lady Skollie’s persona also exists outside of the artworld circuit appearing on the covers of lifestyle and fashion magazines, and her position as an influencer in South Africa is bolstered by her enthusiastic use of Instagram and connections to brand culture. She has been featured on BBC Africa and CNN International on African Voices, as well as on the BBC World Service’s online and radio series In the Studio. She was included in the 2018 edition of OkayAfrica’s 100 Women, an annual list which honours women in different fields for their achievements and influence.
SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS
Good & Evil, Everard Read CIRCA, Johannesburg, South Africa
Weakest Link, Eastside Projects, Birmingham, UK
Lust Politics, Tyburn Gallery, London, UK
Fire with Fire, solo stand at FNB Joburg Art Fair, Johannesburg, South Africa
Mating Dance, solo stand at AKAA Art Fair, Paris, France
Hottentot $kollie, Tomorrows/Today, Investec Cape Town Art Fair, Cape Town, South Africa
One-Night, WorldArt Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
Vroeg Ryp, Vroeg Vrot, RAMP Project, Stevenson Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
Skattie Celebrates Series, Association for Visual Arts Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
Against Interpretation, Everard Read, London, UK
CONTEXT Art Miami, Everard Read, Miami, Florida, USA
Old Masters / New Realities: Gerard Sekoto x Lady Skollie, TMRW Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
This is the Gallery and the Gallery is Many Things X at Eastside Projects, Birmingham, UK
Close: Proximity, Intimacy, Tension, Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
Right at the Equator, Depart Foundation, Malibu, CA, USA
Investec Cape Town Art Fair, with Tyburn Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
1:54 Fair, with Tyburn Gallery, London, UK
SEX, Stevenson Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa