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.
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.
between Nontobeko Ntombela and Reshma Chhiba at Rhodes Fine Art Department on 27 October 2017.
VIDEO: Art on our Mind Creative Dialogue with Reshma Chhiba
AUDIO: Art on our Mind Creative Dialogue with Reshma Chhiba
TRANSCRIPT: Art on our Mind Creative Dialogue with Reshma Chhiba
Nontobeko Ntombela is a curator based in Johannesburg. She currently works at the Wits School of Arts developing the postgraduate programs in curatorial and exhibition practices. She previously worked as the curator of the contemporary collection at the Johannesburg Art Gallery (2010–12) and the Durban Institute of Technology Art Gallery (2006–10). Her curatorial projects include Solo at Cape Town Art Fair (2018); A Fragile Archive at Johannesburg Art Gallery (2012); MTN New Contemporaries (2010) for which she was guest curator; Layers at the Goodman Gallery project space, Johannesburg (2010); Modern Fabrics at the Bag Factory, Johannesburg (2008); From Here to There at the Association of Visual Arts (AVA), Cape Town (2007), as part of the CAPE 07 fringe. Ntombela has participated in international programs including the Bilateral Exchange Project between Germany and South Africa (2007); Close Connections (Africa Reflected) Curator’s Workshop in Amsterdam (2009); Break the Silence Scotland (2002–3).
Dr Sharlene Khan and Nontobeko Ntombela at Rhodes Fine Art Department on 8 September 2017.
VIDEO: Art on our Mind Creative Dialogue with Nontobeko Ntombela
AUDIO: Art on our Mind Creative Dialogue with Nontobeko Ntombela
TRANSCRIPT: Art on our Mind Creative Dialogue with Nontobeko Ntombela
Preparational talk with Art on our Mind research team and Nontobeko Ntombela on 8 May 2017.
Thinking Through, Talking Back: Creative Theorisation as Sites of Praxis-Theory
Art on our Mind panel discussion with Dr Sharlene Khan, Prof Pumla Dineo Gqola, Dr Yvette Abrahams, Prof Neelika Jayawardane and Dr Betty Govinden held as part of the the Colloquium ‘Six Mountains on her back’ (Re)reading African Feminisms at Rhodes University, 21-22 July 2017
An excerpt of the panel discussion was published by Dr Sharlene Khan in Agenda – Empowering women for gender equity 32:3, 2018 entitled: “Thinking Through, Talking Back: Creative Theorisation as Sites of Praxis-Theory” – A creative dialogue between Sharlene Khan, Pumla Dineo Gqola, Yvette Abrahams, Neelika Jayawardane and Betty Govinden. [pdf]
In 2017, the first Afems Colloquium entitled Six Mountains on her Back: (Re)Thinking African Feminisms was held on the 21st and 22nd July 2017 as a collaboration between Finding Africa (Thando Njovane), the Rhodes University Department of Literary Studies in English (Dr Lynda Gichanda Spencer), and Fine Art (Dr Sharlene Khan and the Art on our Mind Research team). Although planned as just a one day symposium, the overwhelming number of presentation local and international applications required its development into a two day full colloquium. Twenty-nine papers were presented, and the colloquium was attended by over 100 people. The keynote was presented by Dr Danai Mupotsa on “Feminism is Sensational”.
The colloquium also hosted a two hour creative dialogue Thinking Through, Talking Back: Creative Theorisation as Sites of Praxis-Theoryhosted by Dr Sharlene Khan with Prof Pumla Gqola, Dr Yvette Abrahams, Dr Betty Govinden and Prof Neelika Jayawardane. Dr Sharlene Khan also launched her artist book I Make Art (2017), with a reading of poetry by Dr Betty Govinden and a performance by Siphokazi Jonas. The evening also featured the opening of the exhibition Being Here, Becoming Her curated by Refilwe Nkomo and Thato Mogotsi of the !Kauru Contemporary Collective (and co-curated by Ms Buhle Siwendu and Dr Sharlene Khan). The exhibition showcased African women artists from across the continent, staff and students from Rhodes University. The colloquium was videoed and all material made available online on Facebook. The project was funded by the National Research Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Rhodes University.