EWS - Ernest, Wonga, Sonja Ferlov Mancoba

07.10 – 03.12.2022


It was on Bornholm, more specifically in the town of Gudhjem, in 1935 that the Danish-French artist Sonja Ferlov Mancoba (1911-1984) became an artist. The ceramists and sisters Lisbeth Munch-Petersen and Gertrud Vasegaard (née Hjorth) gave Sonja clay and showed her how to work with the material. The sculpture Bird with young emerged from the clay and marked a turning point in Ferlov Mancoba’s life, where she went from painting to shaping creatures as she called her figures and sculptures. On Bornholm artists gathered, both locals and from Copenhagen, during some significant years in the mid 30s. Influenced by the surrealist movements in Europe at the time, the group mutually adopted an intuitive approach to artistic creation where nature was seen as the most important material and source of inspiration.

The year after the formative summer on Bornholm, Sonja Ferlov left for Paris in 1936 where she met the South African painter Ernest Mancoba (1904-2002). They married and had their son Wonga Mancoba (1946-2015) who also became an artist. From 1960 they all lived and worked in a studio in Montparnasse in Paris.

On 7 October 2022 Galerie Mikael Andersen opens an exhibition which presents the special family bond Ernest Mancoba, Wonga Mancoba and especially Sonja Ferlov Mancoba. The title E W S corresponds with the three artist’s initials, which Sonja Ferlov Mancoba often used as a mutual signature to mark the unity’s strong ties both as a family and artistically.

The exhibition is an associative conversation between artworks, life, photos, and studio objects. In the front room of the gallery the focus is the radical approach they had to the artistic process, creation, and the artist role: The family together constitutes a unity as “The Artist” and the artworks are living creatures, which become parts of an all-encompassing community of creatures, cultures, and humans from all times and from all over the world. In this way EWS stands for an inspiring rethinking of the current norms of family-life and work-life, as well as the idea of the artist as an individual, and the artwork as an independent object.

In the second room we find a spatial reflection about the time before EWS and about Ferlov’s short but significant attachment to Bornholm.

The exhibition also presents the future Sonja Ferlov Mancoba Pavillion that will be showing all her sculptures. The pavilion is intended to be built on Bornholm and is designed by the Japanese architect Tadao Ando.
Additionally, the exhibition coincides with the publication of Danish author Hanne-Vibeke Holst’s novel, Kriger uden maske, about Sonja Ferlov Mancoba’s life, which will come out 3 November 2022.

The exhibition is curated by Annette Rosenvold Hvidt and Cecilie Høgsbro Østergaard.

When: Opening 7 October 2022, 5pm -7pm. Exhibition: 8 October through 3 December.

For more information on the exhibition and for press images please contact the gallery on tel. 33 33 05 12 or email: Daily opening hours: Tuesday–Friday 12–18, Saturday 11–15