MBOISA: Beauty is in art's ability to move, says Haroon Gunn-Salie

Haroon Gunn-Salie's exhibition has the distinctive ability to influence the viewer, says nominator Aaron Kohn.

Aaron Kohn, director at the Museum of African Design, says the golden goal for a designer is to move beyond the functional towards a creation that explores a theme, is able to solve problems or bring an issue to the fore. With this in mind, he nominated Haroon Gunn-Salie’s exhibition, History After Apartheid, for Design Indaba’s Most Beautiful Object in South Africa (MBOISA) 2016.

Gunn-Salie’s interactive installation was exhibited in Johannesburg’s Goodman Gallery last year. It deals with the phenomenon of marking protesters with colourful dye, a practice first instituted during the Apartheid regime and later adopted around the world.

On nominating the exhibition rather than an object, Kohn says the beauty of Gunn-Salie’s installation can be found in art’s ability to explore and find solutions to problems. Gunn-Salie echoes Kohn’s statement when he explains that beauty, to him, cannot be boxed or defined.

“The work I’m doing is a slow process but I’m trying to understand natural phenomenon,” Gunn-Salie explains. “And then coming to an artwork that is potentially quite beautiful.”

Gunn-Salie’s work incorporates shadow sculptures, the painted moulds of colonial figures, film and more to convey the experience of beauty in a way that moves the viewer.