Lebohang Kganye is an artist living and working in Johannesburg. Kganye received her introduction to photography at the Market Photo Workshop in 2009 and completed the Advanced Photography Programme in 2011. She also completed her Fine Arts studies at the University of Johannesburg in 2016 and forms a new generation of contemporary South African photographers.
Although primarily a photographer, Kganye’s photography often incorporates her interest in sculpture and performance. Over the past seven years she has participated in photography masterclasses and group exhibitions locally and internationally. Kganye was the recipient of the Tierney Fellowship Award in 2012, leading to her exhibition Ke Lefa Laka. She created an animation from the series, which was launched on Mandela Day 2014 in Scotland, entitled Pied Piper’s Voyage. Kganye was then selected as the Featured Artist for the 17th Business and Arts South Africa Awards in 2014. She was also awarded the Jury Prize at the Bamako Encounters Biennale of African Photography in 2015 and the recipient of the CAP Prize 2016 in Basel. Kganye recently received the coveted award for the Sasol New Signatures Competition 2017, leading to a solo show in 2018. Kganye’s work forms part of several private and public collections, most notably the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pennsylvania and the Walther Collection in Ulm.
Art on our Mind received a Wikimedia Foundation Rapid Grant from July 2019 to June 2020, which will help facilitate our meetings. We aim to broaden the number of Wikipedia entries presenting women-of-colour artists from different fields of creative and cultural production.
The workshops will train skills for beginners, so everyone is welcome. Each workshop will be facilitated by experienced Wikipedia editors or representatives of Wikimedia South Africa. For those who are interested and can’t join the meetings, or are inter- ested to participate online, online tutorials will be made available.
The workshops will enable participants to create and upload new articles or to expand on existing entries. Please bring your laptop and identify an artist or group whose entry you want to create or expand (individually or in group work). We will work online, editing and creating entries in your sandbox.
The workshops will draw from research generated by the Art on our Mind research project and participants work together creating and expanding Wikipedia entries on artists and creatives. We make use of a Wikimedia platform to coordinate our work:
More than 20 participants came to engage in discussions during the Wikipedia Salon with Wikimedia ZA director Bobby Shabangu on Friday, 2 August, with two focus areas of the Wikipedia 2030 strategy on the table which have been chosen by Wikimedia South Africa: Capacity Building and Diversity. Results of this discussion will be presented soon.
From the invite: Many people use Wikipedia as their first point of reference for their school research projects and general update on daily subject topics. The Wikimedia Foundation which runs Wikipedia would like to find out from you through a workshops which will be held in Johannesburg and Cape Town, how can they improve Wikipedia’s user interaction and how can they support content contribution so that it represent the diverse people who reads it, it’s a movement strategy which they aim to reach by year 2030 where Wikimedia content represents everyone who consumes and contributes to it. This will not be edit workshops but Salon Strategy where participants will discuss and take a short survey afterwards. So, we would like to invite you to take part in this Salon Strategy Survey. Over the next months Wikipedians around the world will be getting together to be part of this survey, so any ideas you have are very important to us. Come through! Even if you want to listen to how the conversation is going.
Upcoming workshop dates
Wiki edit-a-thon Friday, 23 August 2019, 3-5pm at Wits Writing Centre seminar room
As Wikipedia enters the voting age this year, we will look a bit closer at the online encyclopedia’s accountability and in terms of its race, gender, sexuality and other bias, to inquire what programmes are in place to educate and decolonise this space of global knowledge collection. For this panel, Afems has invited Wikimedia South Africa director Bobby Shabangu and Wiki Loves Women co-founder Isla Haddow-Flood to speak about recent efforts of Wikimedia South Africa to change the way the online spaces frame what is “knowlege” who has access and who owns it.
Bobby Shabangu is Wikimedia ZA director of projects since 2013. His editing activities on Wikipedia focus on the African continent and the Joburgpedia project which involves several institutions. He organises workshops for Wikipedia training and is part of the Community Process Steering Committee for the Wikimedia Foundation working on formulating the 2030 Movement strategy.
Isla Haddow-Flood is a writer, editor and project strategist who is passionate about harnessing communication technology and media platforms for the advancement of open access to knowledge; specifically, knowledge that relates to and enhances the understanding of Africa via the Open Movement (and especially Wikipedia). Since 2011, Isla has been working with members of the WikiAfrica movement to conceptualise and instigate #OpenAfrica, Kumusha Bus and WikiEntrepreneur. She is the co-leader of projects such as Wiki Loves Africa (an annual photographic contest), Kumusha Takes Wiki (citizen journalists in Africa collecting freely-licensed content). In 2016, Isla has co-lead the NGO Wiki In Africa to instigate Wiki Loves Women (content liberation project related to African Women), WikiFundi (an offline editing environment that mimics Wikipedia) and WikiChallenge African Schools (that introduces the next generation of editors to Wikipedia). She also volunteers her time to the Wikimedia Movement’s strategy process by being a Working Group member for Advocacy and is a member of the Wikimedia Foundation’s Annual Plan Grant committee.
Shelley Barry was born and raised in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, and completed graduate studies in English and Drama at the University of Cape Town and University of the Western Cape. She has worked extensively as a disability rights activist, following a shooting in the Cape taxi wars of 1996 that resulted in her being a wheelchair user. She has held positions as Media Manager in the Office on the Status of Disabled Persons in the Presidency and as the National Parliamentary Policy Co-ordinator for Disabled People South Africa. During this time, she co-ordinated Nelson Mandela’s guard of honour for his State of Nation address in 1997. Shelley was awarded Ford Foundation scholarship and graduated with an MFA in Film at Temple University in Philadelphia in 2006. She was a Carnegie scholar at Wits University from 2007-2008 and taught documentary at Big Fish School of Digital Filmmakingand at UWC where she pioneered filmmaking in the Women’s and Gender studies department. Shelley held positions in the FPB South Africa, Mediaworks and currently serves on the board of Street Stories Films. She is associated with Gun Free South Africa and gave a testimony towards ending gun violence at the United Nations in 2006.
The Art on our Mind experimental lab was facilitated by Prof Bhekizizwe Peterson (South African literature scholar and screen writer); Jon Alpert (American journalist and documentary filmmaker); Laura Andel (Argentine composer ); Vibha Galhotra (Indian visual artist); Sharlene Khan (visual artist) and Fouad Asfour (art writer and editor). 8-14 July2018 School of Fine Arts | Somerset Street Grahamstown, South Africa
Senzeni Marasela is a cross-disciplinary artist who explores photography, video, prints, and mixed-medium installations involving textiles and embroidery. Her work deals with history, memory, and personal narrative, emphasizing historical gaps and overlooked figures. Her work includes embroidery, print and video as well as performance and has been widely exhibited in South Africa, Europe and the US. Her work features in prominent local and international collections, including MoMA, New York. She was recently part of the Johannesburg Pavillion at the last Venice Biennale.
Art on our Mind Creative Dialogue with performance artist, dancer and choreographer Mamela Nyamza
Friday 6 September 16h-18h Wits Downstairs Theatre.
Mamela Nyamza (born and raised in Gugulethu, Cape Town) trained in dance at the Zama Dance School under the Royal Academy of Dance (Cape Town, South Africa). She furthered her studies at Pretoria Dance Technikon where she obtained a National Diploma in Ballet (Pretoria, South Africa). In 1998 she received a scholarship to study dance at the Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre (New York, USA). Thereafter, she joined the State Theatre Dance Company (South Africa) and participated in national and international performances. Nyamza also attended choreography workshops at the Vienna International Dance Festival. She also received ballet training from Martin Schonberg at the Pact Dance Company (Pretoria, South Africa), attended African Dance workshops by Jamaine Acogny (Soweto, South Africa), and studied a dance course at Sadler’s Wells Theatre (London, United Kingdom). She also focuses on socio-political themes such as violence, rape and lesbian identity. She recently returned from Edinburgh, UK, as one of the delegates from South Africa for the Edinburgh Theatre and Dance showcase under the British Council. Awards include: Standard Bank Young Artist Award in Dance (2011), Featured Artist in Dance at the National Arts Festival (2018), Mbokodo in Dance (2016), GLAMOUR creative women, among others. She is now based at the South African State Theatre as a Deputy Artistic Director, and some of her mandate is Curator for Dance Umbrella Africa, VAVASATI and 16 Days of Activism at The South African State Theatre.
She interrogates the dance medium of classical ballet and challenges the conventions for traditional dance norms taught in formal dance education and is skilled in multiple dance forms such as: modern dance, African dance, the Horton technique, Spanish dance, jazz movement, mime, flying low technique, release technique, gumboot dance, Butoh and many more.
Select solo and group performances include De-Apart-Hate at Johannesburg Dance Umbrella (Johannesburg, South Africa, 2017), Hatched (Johannesburg, France, Germany, Singapore, Egypt, Cairo, Mali, Tchad, USA, and UK’s Dance Umbrella, 2011; Infecting the City, Cape Town, 2013), I Stand Corrected, in collaboration with UK-based artist Mojisola Adebayo at the Ovalhouse (London, United Kingdom, 2012) and later at the Soweto Theatre, South Africa; Isingqala and Amafongkong, collaborative productions with the Adugna Dance Theatre Company (Ethiopia) at the National Arts Festival (Grahamstown, South Africa, 2011), and African Footprints (2006). Her latest work Black Privilege is still on demand internationally and nationally.
Art on our Mind Creative Dialogue with contemporary art curator Natasha Becker
Thursday 5 September 15.30h The Point of Order Gallery, Corner Bertha and, Stiemens St, Johannesburg.
Natasha was born in South Africa and has spent the last sixteen years living and working between New York and Cape Town. An expert in contemporary African and African American art, she has curated a number of exhibitions in collaboration with artists, curators, collectors, galleries, museums, and foundations internationally. She recently co-curated two exhibitions, “Perilous Bodies,” and “Radical Love,” at the distinguished Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice to inaugurate their new art gallery in New York (2019). Her past experience includes curating exhibitions at the Goodman Gallery (South Africa), convening public programs in global art history at the Clark Art Institute, and launching an international video art festival (both Massachusetts, USA). Natasha is one of the co-founders of two collaborative curatorial platforms, ASSEMBLY ROOM (New York) and THE UNDERLINE SHOW (Johannesburg).
Organised by the Department of Visual Arts, Wits University and the Department of Literary Studies in English, Rhodes University
The third edition of the African Feminisms (Afems) conference will happen from the 5-7 September 2019 at Wits University in Johannesburg, South Africa, in collaboration with the Department of Literary Studies in English, Rhodes University. The 2019 theme is based on Nigerian Stiwanist Molara Ogundipe’s conversation in 2002 with South African black feminist Desiree Lewis in which Ogundipe states:
For me, social ideas should emerge from a consciousness that thinks of what is beneficial to a human being as a person, not because the ideas occurred or are practiced in Europe or America. We need to overcome our endemic inferiority complex towards Europe and things “white,” successfully implanted since our colonial education and through its curricula. We should think from our epicentres of agency, looking for what is meaningful, progressive and useful to us as Africans, as we enrich ourselves with forerunning ideas from all over the world including Europe and America. … I felt that as concerned African women we needed to focus on our areas of concern, socially and geographically. I am concerned with critical and social transformations of a positive nature in Africa, positive meaning, being concerned with everything that maximises the quality of life of Africans and their potentials too.
This conversation highlights issues that continue to resonate with black-African-postcolonial feminists in Africa and beyond: lived experience as sites of knowledge; epistemologies tied to geo-specific bodies; long heterogenous world histories that co-exist with indigenous knowledges; cultural seepage; humanistic philosophical stances that refuse the ‘othering’ of Africa(ns) and claim our space and place in world-making; embodied thinking-doing; a plurality of feminisms that respond to the diversity of African women; the centrality of women in decolonial paradigms; an acknowledgement of acts of agency that define Africans on a daily basis; and a good dose of hopefulness for the future. For the 2019 Afems conference, we would like to issue a Call for Presentations around the idea of theorising from the epicentres of our agency, thinking through some of these areas:
What defines our epicentres?
What are the sites and range of ‘lived experiences’ that we are dealing with as we head towards the change of another decade and a fight back by what bell hooks has termed ‘white supremacist capitalist patriarchy’?
What knowledges inform our centering and doing?
What does ‘theorising’ mean for black-African women?
How do we contest the colonial theory-praxis divide?
What role does creativities play in our world-thinking and world-making?
‘Agency’ in Africa has so many connotations including the stereotype of the ‘development agency’. What does it mean ‘to have agency’? Does agency = active? What does it mean to be an agent or to be agentic?
How do we create change and organisations from the epicentres of the fields and the grassroots?
How does theorising from our geo-specific epicentres disrupt colonial paradigms and rethink decolonial epistemologies?
Can there be a centre without margins? Who are our margins as we look out from our epicentres?
How can we reach out from our diverse epicentres in our various countries in Africa across Anglophone/Lusophone/ Francophone divides to each other and to sisters across the seas to have global conversations that respond to not only the global eco-capitalist crisis we are in, but to enrich the terrain of the human experiences we share?
As always, all sessions are free and open to the university and general public. However, a registration fee of R500 will be charged to participants to cover the printing of the programme, drinks and meals. Registration fees will have to be paid in advance of the conference and are non-refundable.
The African Feminisms (Afems) Conference is hosted by the Art on our Mind research project run by Prof Sharlene Khan (Wits University) and the Urban Connections and Popular Imaginaries in Africa (UCAPI) research project run by Dr Lynda Spencer (Rhodes University).
The Black Feminist Killjoy Reading Group is run by Dr Sharlene Khan and the Art on our Mind research group. If you are interested in exploring fictional and non-fictional cultural practices of women killjoys of colour from around the globe – in order to think through our own lives – this reading group is for you.
Friends from outside of the department and field are most welcome.
Art on our Mind was located at Rhodes University from 2016-18, and moved to the Wits School of Art in 2019. The Reading Group will continue in both venues, please contact Prof Sharlene Khan for Joburg Reading Group meetings, or Zodwa Tutani, Viwe Madinda or Jodie Pather for meetings in Makhanda.
From 27-29 September 2018, Art on our Mind hosted the African Feminisms Conference (Afems), which featureed a retrospective of South African documentary filmmaker Shelley Barry, and the South African cuators’ conversation Curating as World-Making.
African Feminisms (Afems) Conference 2018
‘The Mute Always Speak’: (Re) imagining and re-imaging feminist futures
Hosted by Rhodes University Department of Literary Studies in English and Department of Fine Arts
Keynote Speakers: Dr Nthabiseng Motsemme, Dr Siphokazi Magadla, Prof Gabeba Baderoon, Ms Shelley Barry
Started in 2017, the African Feminisms Conference (Afems) is an annual African feminist-centred dialogue and creative expression space, encouraging intellectual engagement and social networking. Afems provides a collaborative research platform for students and established scholars in Fine Arts and Literary Studies in English through the lens of African feminism.
Art on our Mind creative dialogue: Curating as World-Making
Sharlene Khan in conversation with curators Nkule Mabaso, Nomusa Makhubu, Same Mdluli, Nontobeko Ntombela, Zodwa Tutani on the possibilities and challenges in visual arts curation in South Africa (panelists’ biographies below). The discssuion took place in context of Afems 2018 conference ‘The Mute Always Speak’: (Re) imagining and re-imaging feminist futures on 28 September 2018.
VIDEO: Curating as World-Making panel discussion
AUDIO: Curating as World-Making panel discussion
TRANSCRIPT: Curating as World-Making panel discussion
Reshma Chhiba is a visual artist and dancer based in Johannesburg. She holds a BAFA (2005) and an MAFA (2013), from the University of the Witwatersrand, and a diploma in Bharatanatyam (2002) from the Institute of Indian Art and Culture (South Africa). She currently serves as Exhibitions Coordinator at The Point of Order, an experimental exhibition space run by the Division of Visual Arts, Wits University. Previously, Chhiba worked at the Visual Identities in Art and Design Research Centre (VIAD), University of Johannesburg (2013 – 2015), and Exhibitions Curator and then Registrar at the Johannesburg Art Gallery (2007 – 2013).
Joint winner of the Wits School of Arts Martienssen Prize 2003, she was selected by the Goethe Institut (2007) to work as an art mediator at Documenta 12, in Kassel, Germany. She has participated in numerous group shows, including Impossible Monsters – Art Extra (2007); Self/Not Self – Brodie Stevenson (2009); Domestic – GoetheonMain (2009), Alterating Conditions: Performing Performance Art in South Africa – GoetheonMain (2011), [Working Title] – Goodman Cape (2012), 21BF – Turbine Hall and Bag Factory (2012), Princess in the veld – KKNK Festival (2015) and others. Her solo exhibitions include Kali – Art Extra (2008) and The Two Talking Yonis – Constitution Hill Women’s Jail, Kalashnikovv Gallery and Room Gallery (2013), in which she collaborated with curator Nontobeko Ntombela. She is also co- founder of Sarvavidya Natyaalaya (SVN), a non-profit classical Indian dance school specialising in Bharatanatyam in South Africa.