Shakil Solanki ( 6. 1997) was born in Cape Town, South Africa. He completed his undergraduate degree at the Michaelis School of Fine Art in 2019, and is currently based in Cape Town, practising as an artist, working primarily within the mediums of paintings and printmaking. On completion of his degree, he was awarded the Simon Gerson Award, as well as the Katrine Harries Print Cabinet Award, for excellent achievement in the printmaking medium. Since 2018, he has taken part in several group shows, along with many silkscreen-printing jobs, and a short residency at the South Atlantic Press. He held his first solo presentation at WHATIFTHEWORLD Gallery in Cape Town, at the end of 2020. Recent collaborations include the set design of Cape Town Opera's production of Georges Bizet's 'The Pearl Fishers', where he produced a series of paintings which served as large-scale backdrops to the performance.
Solanki interrogates dynamics of intimacy, using the space of a secret garden to explore dualities of tenderness, desire and violence. His experiences as a queer brown man remain central to his practice, with classical Eastern art standing as a prominent source of inspiration. This vernacular is repurposed, encompassing homoerotic dialogues to evoke lush, dreamlike lands, which remain both romantic and discomforting at once. The trope of a secret garden is used as a liminal space, where contrasting emotions of trauma and longing exist hand-in-hand with moments of stillness, using the theme of intimacy as a point of convergence to explore its many dynamics, evoked within many shades of the colour blue.
SELECTED PROJECTS & EXHIBITIONS
2021 – Premise, group exhibition, Atterbury House / Joe Prussian, Cape Town. 2020 – An Ode to ‘Yumeji’s Theme’, solo exhibition, What If The World Gallery, Cape Town; The Spectacle, group exhibition, THE FOURTH, Cape Town; Surroundings, group exhibition, Suburbia Contemporary, Granada, ES; Apartment Vol. I, The Apartment -28 St. Georges Mall, Cape Town; Proxies, group exhibition, The Gallery, Johannesburg; Greatest Hits, group exhibition, Association for the Visual Arts, Cape Town; AKAA Fair Paris, Nuweland Gallery, Paris, FR; Latitudes Art Fair, Suburbia Contemporary, online; Investec Cape Town Art Fair, Association for Visual Arts, Cape Town. 2019 – The Secret Garden, solo exhibition, Michaelis Galleries, Cape Town; Hue & Hue, group exhibition, Monolith Studios / Joe Prussian, Cape Town; Untitled 7.99, group exhibition, 99 Loop Gallery, Cape Town, Nano 1.3, group exhibition, Barnard Gallery, Cape Town; Emphatic Whispers, group exhibition, Smith Studio Gallery, Cape Town; Points of an Elliipsis, group exhibition, 61 Loop Street Studios / Joe Prussian, Cape Town. 2018 – A Conversation, group exhibition, Michaelis Galleries, Cape Town