WORKS: Mamela Nyamza – Choreography

Select solo and group performances by Mamela Nyamza

2017

De-Apart-Hate at Johannesburg, Dance Umbrella, 2017

Afrovibes Festival 2017, The Netherlands

In DE-APART-HATE award-winning South African dancer, choreographer and arts activist Mamela Nyamza shows the oppression of women and (gay) sexuality by the church and how to overcome this. The performance is a search for personal freedom, a breathless duet in which she dances with the Bible between her legs. Mamela explores the limits of dance, performance and provocation. DE-APART-HATE gives a glimpse into the current power structures of South Africa where a cry is rising for decolonization of culture. 

Kgomotso Moncho-Maripane: Mamela Nyamza’s De-Apart-Hate At Dance Umbrella. Huffington Post 23/02/2017 

2015

The Last Attitude, Nelisiwe Xaba and Mamela Nyamza.
Mamela Nyamza and Nelisiwe Xaba take us with them on this exploratory piece, The Last Attitude, which pushes the boundaries and acceptable norms of ballet. Taking on themes of lightness and heaviness, strict movements and free experimentation, they switch effortlessly between the male and female roles. The piece sets out to explore the relationship between men and women in ballet, juxtaposing male and female, support and exploitation, they travel through a number of scenarios in which the typical dynamics of ballet are subverted. Report by Campbell Easton & Aphile Aphile Silolo School of Journalism and Media Studies, Rhodes University.

19 BORN 76 REBELS

Conceptualised and designed by Mamela Nyamza; performed with Faniswa Yisa
Originally co-produced with the SADC, Festival d’Avignon for the France-South Africa seasons 2012- 2013; previously presented at the National Arts Festival, Grahamstown, 2014.

Video preview from the Festival d’Avignon.

19 BORN 76 REBELS at Zeitz MOCAA

2013 

Okuya Phantsi Kwempumlo at Infecting the City, ICA, Cape Town

Having recently returned from sold-out performances at the Ovalhouse in London, highly acclaimed choreographer and Donald Gordon Creative Arts Fellow, Mamela Nyamza, presents a startling dance performance Okuya Phantsi Kwempumlo (The Meal), for which she received a Standard Bank Ovation Award at the National Arts Festival 2012. Also featuring Dinah Eppel and Kirsty Ndawo, the work celebrates the creative capacity of young South Africans to subvert and transform instruments of oppression and denigration into expressions of ecstasy and beauty; and reflects on the relationship between women from different generations and races.

A short preview of Mamela Nyamza’s – Okuya Phantsi Kwempumlo / The Meal. Filmed live at The National Arts Festival 2012 in Grahamstown, South Africa. 

2012 

I Stand corrected, physical theatre, with the British theatre producer Mojisola Adebayo. Ovalhouse, London; Soweto Theatre, Johannesburg; Artscape, Cape Town

Mojisola Adebayo and Mamela Nyamza: I Stand Corrected, Edward Wren, Total Theatre

Okuya Phantsi Kwempulo (The Meal). Three women show, South African National Arts Festival 2012 (Standard Bank Ovation Award)
Conceptualised, choreographed and directed by Nyamza, the work is performed together with Dinah Eppel and Kirsty Ndawo. Okuya Phantsi Kwempulo considers cooking, eating, art, love and sex. “Before a meal can be eaten, preparation is necessary. The most basic division is between the creator of the meal and those who are being served. This work examines the process in which the eater becomes one with the meal, though the process of reaching satisfaction can take many forms”, Nyamza comments.

2011 

Isingqala and Amafongkong are collaborative productions with the Adugna Dance Theatre Company (Ethiopia) at the National Arts Festival (Grahamstown, South Africa, 2011), and African Footprints (2006).

Isingqala, performed, directed and choreographed by Mamela Nyamza, National Arts Festival, Grahamstown South Africa; Different Voices – Bates Dance Festival, USA; Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, Slovenia.

Bates Dance Festival, Danse Afrique Day 3

Amafongkong 
Ethiopian Adugna Dance company; South African National Arts Festival 2011 

Abangxolayo (Noise makers) choreographed by Mamela Nyamza, premiered at GoetheonMain

Nyamza describes the Noise Makers as “all of those who are no longer in our existence, their names are written everywhere and we still hear of them even today”.
About the performance, which she will create in a collaborative process with a group of dancers at GoetheonMain, Nyamza explains that “it’s like a beauty contest, a function, but yet we are going to mourn or commemorate all of those who have left us with something to celebrate. It talks about the past at once and moving forward with what has been powerfully done by those who never kept quiet, be they artists, politicians, students, children or philosophers. This is a piece written by bodies creating moving images that will not be understood but yet will say something powerful to the viewer.”
Artslink

2010

Hatched performed, directed and choreographed by Mamela Nyamza at Out The Box Festival 2010 (Grahamstown South African National Arts Festival 2010); Dance Umbrella, London 2011; the 8th Pan-African dance biennial, Danse l’Afrique danse! in Mali, Bamako.

Art Africa Magazine: Danse l’Afrique danse!

Festival Brochure

HATCHED by Mamela Nyamza

Dance Umbrella 2011, Performed on 28 and 29 October at The Place
Mamela Nyamza’s autobiographical and passionate Hatched reveals an intriguing tension between Western balletic conventions and traditional African forms. A moving and evocative piece, Hatched conveys the challenging issues of a woman’s evolving sexuality within the customary rites and rituals of marriage. 

SHIFT by Mamela Nyamza

The performance celebrates the lives of, and commemorates, all women in sport, including Eudy Simelane, the Banyana Banyana soccer player who was stabbed 27 times because she was acting ‘like a man’. The work draws attention to the stryggle of women in sport and to girl children who experience discrimination in their own country, such as is currently the case with Caster Semenya. Mixed media link the drama and the dance, the 1960s and the present day, contextualizing the stories and serving as a bridge between different places, times and spaces, giving context to the idea that issues relating to sexuality necer take place in isolation.

Fifteen years after democracy, what are the gaps between anti-apartheid aspirations and present day realities? Hoe can the most progressive constitution in the world, which was worked our and earned through a historic liberation struggler in South Africa and which enshrines equality  for people of all sexualities, be fulfilled in reality? It looks at private and public life, tradition and the law, the state and the individual, and at the struggle against apartheid and for sexual liberation. (Artist statement)

Fancy footwork, now world’s at her feet. The Star 27 Oct 2010.

Mendi 2, Dance Factory, Newtown
Sunday Times 14 February 2010: Moving Bodies made to tell stories that matter

2009 

Kutheni, two women show performed by the members of Jazzart Dance Theatre, commissioned work for the FNB Dance Umbrella

I-Dolls,performed by the Cape Dance Company, commissioned by the South African National Arts Council

2008 

If Clothes Could Talk, performed by the Cape Junior Ballet

Our Fear, outreach project performed by Dance for All students

HATCH,one woman show, performed by Mamela Nyamza, On Broadway, Cape Town

“Hatch is a dance piece that seeks challenging issues of culture to convey, tradition and woman’s evolving sexuality with and outside the customary rites and rituals of marriage, starting from the time a girl-child is born until she realises her true identity after years of hardship in a loveless marriage.”
Mamba Online

Mexico: Foro Performatica, festival brochure

2007 

The Classroom, performed by the Zama Dance School

2006 

Some of Us Can Change, performed by the Zama Dance School

2005

Angels in Strip, with the Free Flight Dance Company at Arts Cape; Window into a World

2003 

Umakoti welixesha,The Woman’s Festival at the Dance Factory, Johannesburg

2002

Performed at the opening of the World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa. 

2000

Lead / Principal Dancer for hit musical(2000). Toured in London, UK and Atlanta, US

1999 

Reality Check,The State Theatre Dance company, Johannesburg

1997 -2000

Performed with State Theatre Dance Company,SA. The first public performance with the company, FNB Dance Umbrella, followed by the KKNK in Oudtshoorn; Oude Libertas; Grahamstown National Arts Festival; Dance Factory and the Civic Theatre seasons. First trip out of the country with the company: Israel, performed in Eilat and Ranana. Collaborated with The Danish Company (1997- 199) and performing inDenmark, Finland, Switzerland. performed internationally choreographed pieces by Robert North, Edd Wubb, Redha and Bebe Miller and South African choreographed pieces by Candice Johnstone, Esther Nasser, Alfred Hinkel’s famous Bolero, Debbie Rakusin; Sean Bovim & Christopher Kindo’s Me and You.

1995-1996

Performed with Pretoria Dance Technikon in all of their seasons, performed in works of South African acclaimed choreographers such as

Vincent Mantsoe, Moeketsi Koena, Boyzie Cekwane, Robyn Orlin; David Matamela; Debbie Rakusin and Sonia Mayor.

1986 -1993

Grahamstown Arts Festival; FNB Dance Umbrella; Sea Point Eistedford with the Zama dance school. Works choreographed by Arlene Westergaard and the students of the school.

Turbine Art Fair 2020

Turbine Art Fair 2020 Special Project: Tactile Visions – Woven

Tactile Visions-Woven, curated by Prof Sharlene Khan, a new addition to the fair, presents a curated selection of tactile-based works in an expanded conversation with the notions of ‘materiality’ and ‘tactility’, as contemporary artists engage these in performance, installation, photography, painting, dance, printmaking and sculpture, responding to the precarious conditions of the world in which they find themselves as individuals and as members of society. The exhibition also aims to show, through the porosity of the categories of ‘fine arts’/ ‘crafts’/ ‘women’s art’/ ‘popular culture’ that these are not – and simply never were – tenable in the fluidity that are our African lives.
read more here

Tactile Visions-Woven: artist interviews

Bev Butkow

Buhlebezwe Siwani

Londiwe Mtshali

Philiswa Lila

Reshma Chhiba

Mary Sibande

Nono Motlhoki

Zodwa Skeyi-Tutani

Dean Hutton

Lebogang Mogul Mabusela

Willemien de Villiers

Thania Petersen

Lindelwa Masuku

Curator Sharlene Khan

Extended Archive

This extended artists’ archive presents resources on South African women-of-colour artists which were produced additional to the the Art on our Mind research project.

Turbine Art Fair 2020 Special Project: Tactile Visions – Woven

Tactile Visions-Woven, curated by Prof Sharlene Khan, a new addition to the fair, presents a curated selection of tactile-based works in an expanded conversation with the notions of ‘materiality’ and ‘tactility’, as contemporary artists engage these in performance, installation, photography, painting, dance, printmaking and sculpture, responding to the precarious conditions of the world in which they find themselves as individuals and as members of society. The exhibition also aims to show, through the porosity of the categories of ‘fine arts’/ ‘crafts’/ ‘women’s art’/ ‘popular culture’ that these are not – and simply never were – tenable in the fluidity that are our African lives.
read more here

Tactile Visions-Woven: artist interviews

Statement by curator Sharlene Khan

Tactile Visions/ Woven (Turbine Art Fair 2020)

Curated by Sharlene Khan, Tactile Visions-Woven is an expanded conversation on our relationalities with materials; processes by which we engage them; histories implicated by them, as well as how we envision ourselves and our world through sartorial codes. South Africa has an immensely rich history of tactile arts – from beadwork to embroidery, leather work, quilts and blanket making to doilies and the weaving of baskets with telephone wires to the ability to decorate with ordinary steel pins. The exhibition is interested in how contemporary artists are using the language of these everyday tactilities to question a range of social issues that affect them as individuals and a world which seems perched on a precarious edge. At the same time, this act of using the ordinary is redefining the very terrain of what we associate as ‘fine art’ versus ‘craft’ and have categorised into ‘women’s art’, ‘popular culture’ and ‘fashion’, showing that these positions never had any place in our African lives or histories. And so it is fascinating how the field of contemporary visual arts has become reconfigured at this intersection of the everyday and, sometimes, even the unspectacular. The exhibition presents works of established and emerging artists in dialogue with each other as they speak to similar narratives through a range of different subject positions, showing that our battles may seem different, but, indeed, our struggles are interconnected and, thus, so should our visions for a better world.  

About the curator:
Sharlene Khan is a South African visual artist who works in multi-media installations and performances which focus on the socio-political realities of a post-apartheid society and the intersectionality of race-gender-class. She uses masquerading as a postcolonial strategy to interrogate her South African heritage, as well as the constructedness of identity via rote education, art discourses, historical narratives and popular culture.


She has exhibited in the UK, Italy, France, Germany, South Africa, India, South Korea, Greece and has participated in various international conferences. Her writings on contemporary visual arts appears in journals, books, art catalogues and magazines including Art South Africa, Artthrob, Springerin, Manifesta, Contemporary-And, The Conversation Africa, Imbizo: International Journal of African Literary and African Studies. She has been a recipient of the Abe Bailey Travel Bursary (1998), the Rockefeller Bellagio Arts residency (2009) the Canon Collins/Commonwealth Scholarship (2011), the National Research Foundation Thutuka Grant for her 3 year project Art on our Mind (2017-2019), the Andrew Mellon Decolonial Turn Funds for her Decolonial AestheSis Creative Lab (2017-2018), the African Humanities Post-doctoral Fellowship (2017) and was runner-up winner in the Videokunst Preis Bremen video art award (2015).


She has been nominated twice for the South African Women in the Arts award and has received funding from the National Arts Council multiple times. She has published three books on her work: ‘What I look like, What I feel like’ (2009), ‘I Make Art’ (2017), ‘When the moon waxes red. . . ‘ (2018). She is co-convenor of the African Feminisms (Afems) conference and the bi-weekly Black Feminist Killjoys Reading Group. She holds a PhD (Arts) from Goldsmiths, University of London and is currently Associate Professor at the Department of Fine Art at the Wits University, Johannesburg, South Africa.  

Curatorial statement Sharlene Khan

RMB Turbine Art Fair Talk: Threaded Vision
Craig Jacobs, Ethical Fashion Designer in discussion with Sharlene Khan, Curator of Woven.

CURRENT

     

Artwork: Kundai Moyo, Untitled (2020), Relief Print on Canson Edition Blanc Antique with fabric cutout, 380 x 380 mm, Made in Collaboration with Edition Verso
Artwork: Kundai Moyo, Untitled (2020), Relief Print on Canson Edition Blanc Antique with fabric cutout, 380 x 380 mm, Made in Collaboration with Edition Verso

In Search of our Shrines: Feminist Healing and the Politics of Love
African Feminisms (Afems) Conference  

University of Cape Town (GSB Conference Centre), 1-5 November 2021  

The fourth edition of the African Feminisms (Afems) conference will be hosted as a hybrid physical and online event from 1st-5th November 2021 by the University of Cape Town (South Africa), in collaboration with the African Gender Institute, the Department of Literary Studies in English, Rhodes University and the Department of Fine Arts, Wits University.

The renewal of the soul follows a path that cannot be legislated for in parliament or studied at a prestigious university. It is a way of finding a spark that will trigger a loving and compassionate way of being with who we are, after being told that we are of no substance and value. (Mmatshilo Motsei)​

The 2021 African Feminisms conference addresses alternative modes of knowledge production, ongoing implications of the divide between feminist theory and praxis, as well as intellectual and creative feminist strategies. What possibilities are offered by the multimodal, polyphonic, intersectional and deeply political work of feminist healing in societies that care little for women, queer and non-binary bodies and lives?

In a time of ecological collapse, neoliberal modes of governance that extend across institutions, the intensification and resurgence of racist and sexist public cultures, what are the possibilities for building worlds that are life-giving? How can practices of feminist healing ‘teach best what we most yearn for’ to bring about ‘revolutions of love and courage’ (Pregs Govender, 2007). What are the worlds yet to be built? What worlds, already in existence but not recognised by ‘deadened bureaucracies’ (Govender, 2007), can we build on and with for ‘renewal(s) of the soul’ (Motsei, 2007). Afems 2021 will include presentations from various scholarly disciplines and fields including paper presentations, conversations, themed convened panels, video-screenings, creative displays, book launches, as well as self- and group-care student workshops around:

FEATURED PANELS AND ROUNDTABLES

  • The Pregs Govender Roundtable: with Pregs Govender in attendance
  • Transnational Feminisms Panel: Transnational Feminist Currents On Healing, Care and Tides 
  • Environmental Feminisms PanelLove in the Midst of Climate Change (film) and discussion
  • Trans Feminisms Panel: Trans Identities in Africa
  • Feminist Archives Reading Group: Reading Elaine Salo as an Act of Feminist Solidarities and Decolonial Healing

CREATIVE AND LITERAY PROGRAM

  • Virtual Exhibition and Artist Discussion: Art on Our Mind Creative Dialogue with Sophie Peters, Nono Motlhoki and Sharlene Khan
  • Virtual Exhibitions by Rehema Chachage, Kim Reynolds, Nono Motloki and Lebohang Mogul
  • Poetry Readings by Malika Ndlovu, Sindiswa Busuku, Vangi Gantsho, Jaliya the Bird ith Malika Ndlovu, Sindiswa Busuku, Vangi Gantsho, Jaliya the Bird and Natalia Molebatsi
  • Book Launch Discussions with Pumla Gqola, Gabeba Baderoon and Desirée Lewis, Barbara Boswell, Dina Ligaga, Tiffany Willoghby -Herard and Dee Marco
  • Recorded Performance Pieces by Qondiswa James and Gertrude Fester

CAPE TOWN STUDENT WORKSHOPS

  • Healing the Collective Feminist by Michelle Festus, Jude Clark, Busi Dlamini and Rikky Minyuku
  • Re-Membering is Re-Writing (incl. poetry) by vangile ganthso & Malika Ndlovu
  • Magick for healing – a quaternity of UWC’s feminist framily (incl film and word-sound-power) by Monique van Vuuren, Melandri Constant, Amy Brown and Xena Scullard
  • Singing Our Souls – Regenerative Soundscapes That Call Us Home (music) by Injairu Kulundu 
  • Forgive, Forget and Move On (art) by Sophie Peters
  • Kin by Danai Mupotsa  
  • Obstetric Violence: Breaking the Silence of Violence Against Women During Childbirth by Mmatshilo Mostei

REGISTRATION

Registration is free. Our workshops have limited capacity and a registration deadline of 22nd October 2021 (for catering purposes).  There is no registration deadline for the virtual event.

VIRTUAL CONFERENCE REGISTRATION

https://uctcmc.eventsair.com/afems-2021/virtual-conference-registration

CAPE TOWN WORKSHOP REGISTRATION 

https://uctcmc.eventsair.com/afems-2021/cape-town-workshop-registration

ENQUIRIES

Please direct all queries to: afems2020@gmail.com

CONFERENCE PROGRAMME

CONFERENCE ABSTRACTS

Keynote Speakers

Mmatshilo Motsei

Mmatshilo pic _ credit Kamogelo Litheko .jpg

Mmatshilo Motsei is an author, healer, spiritual health coach with a keen interest in integrating indigenous knowledge with modern innovation. She is the Founding Director of the Afrika Ikalafe Spiritual Health Institute. Aptly called Afrika Ikalafe, which means Afrika Heal Thyself, the aim of the Institute is to indigenise health and development and by so doing, build an African consciousness that will provide fertile ground for healing of wounded individuals, families, and communities.  One of the key projects of Afrika Ikalafe is Marumo Fatshewhose focus is to use technology in a search for indigenous African healing justice framework in responding to sexual violence in South Africa.A Sociology Doctoral Student with an MA in Creative Writing and BA Hons Psychology, she started her career as a nurse, midwife, social science researcher, rural development facilitator and healer. She is a recipient of two honorary doctorates namely: University of Zululand (Community Psychology) and Nelson Mandela University (Faculty of Health). She has written and published several books. Her scholarly work includes teaching and facilitating seminars at UNISA, Wits, Stellenbosch, Mpumalanga, and Rhodes Universities. Using a combination of nursing, midwifery, physiology, psychology, creative writing and African spirituality, Mmatshilo Motsei perceives her work as a bridge for people to move beyond their smallness and limitations. Through years of facilitating workshops, seminars, and healing circles, she has learnt the art of igniting the genius in people. By grinding her own fears, she has also learnt to harvest the power within. 

Websites: www.mmatshilomotsei.com and www.afrikaikalafe.org

Mmatshilo’s Motsei’s profile pic credit – Kamogelo Litheko

Tiffany Willougby-Herard

willoughby-herard 1.jpg

Tiffany Willoughby-Herard (Associate Professor of African American Studies, University of California, Irvine) is a Black political scientist who focuses on Black political thought and the material conditions of knowledge production, Black movements, South African historiography; blackness in international relations, diaspora, third world feminisms, decolonizing theory, feminist pedagogy, Black & African feminisms, and racial capitalism/gendered racisms/sexuality in international relations. Her current work explores cross-generational youth-led political organizing around land return, sexual violence, and colonial legacies in South Africa. She is concerned with political consciousness across generations and creative sites for political education. She is the author of Waste of a White Skin: The Carnegie Corporation and the Racial Logic of White Vulnerability (University of California Press 2015). Willoughby-Herard is also the co-editor of numerous journal special issues; a new book on Black feminist cultural studies in contemporary South Africa entitled Sasinda Futhi Siselapha: Black Feminist Approaches to Cultural Studies in South Africa’s Twenty-Five Years Since 1994 (Africa World Press 2020), and a textbook Theories of Blackness: On Life and Death (Cognella Press 2011). Willoughby-Herard is a founding member of the Transnational Black Womxn Scholars of African Politics Research Network; and a founding member of the Black Women and Gender Non-Binary research and creative writing group, #InForUs. As President of the 52 year old National Conference of Black Political Scientists Willoughby-Herard and a member of the LGBTQ+ Caucus and the Association for the Study of Black Women in Politics, she/they has found space to grow as a poet, an editor, a reader, a mama, a member of a church choir, a teacher, an undergraduate research supervisor, a friend, an ethical and grounded political scientist, and a Black internationalist lesbian feminist who survived.

Peace Kiguwa

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Peace Kiguwa (PhD) is Associate Professor in Psychology at the School of Human and Community Development, the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. Her research interests include critical social psychology, affective politics of gender and sexuality, racism and racialization and the nuances of teaching and learning. Her research projects include focus on young women’s leadership in Higher Education in partnership with the African Gender Institute (AGI) and the Destabilizing Heteronormativity project in partnership with Aids International (AAI). She has co-edited three books (UCT and ZED press releases) and has published in both local and internationally accredited journals. She is currently Editorial Board member on three accredited journals and has co-edited three Special Issue journals: Rethinking Social Cohesion and its relationship to Exclusion, Papers on Social Representations and Micro-politics of Belonging in Higher Education. She is the current Chair of the Sexuality and Gender Division of the Psychology Society of South Africa (PSYSSA) and recent recipient of the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust Rising Star Fellowship at Wits University.

Featured Guest

Pregs Govender

Pregs Govender.jpg

Pregs Govender is a writer, educator, and author. Pregs was active in the student, teacher, women and trade union movements that fought Apartheid in the late 70’s and 80’s. During South Africa’s transition, she managed the Women’s National Coalition campaign for equality and women’s rights in the Constitution and future SA. As an ANC MP from 1994, she proposed that SA develop the ‘Women’s Budget’ and steered its political mpact on the 1998/1999 National Budget. She chaired Parliament’s committee on women, that ensured Parliament enacted over 80% of women’s  legislative demands. In 2002, she resigned after being the only MP across parties to register opposition to the arms deal in the defence budget vote and after chairing HIV/AIDS public hearings (breaking the silence of the ANC Caucus on treatment). In 2009, Parliament unanimously elected her to the South African Human Rights Commission which she served as Deputy Chair until 2015, where her feminist approach advanced socio economic rights  especially on water and sanitation in SA and globally. Pregs is the author of  Love and Courage, A Story of Insubordination which has been used as a toolkit, guide and curriculum resource by individuals, organisations and movements, including feminist activists, teachers, writers, trade unionists, and parliamentarians. It is used to teach anti-racist and anti-capitalist feminism, writing political memoir, personal and political transformation, budgets, economics and law-making, political transitions and women’s coalitions, meditation & activism. Pregs currently holds a Sonke Gender Justice Fellowship to establish an Institute for Transformative Feminist Leadership.

Website: www.pregsgovender.com

Pregs Govender bio and profile pic courtesy of Gcina Mhlope

Featured Artist

Sophie Peters

Sophie Peters profile pic.jpeg

Born June 23, 1968 in Johannesburg  before moving to Cape Town, Sophie Peters has taught in a variety of places and organizations including the Child Welfare Society, the People’s Centre in Nyanga East, the Sakhile Children’s Art Project in Mitchells Plain, the Visual Arts Group at Luyolo Community Centre in Gugulethu as well as numerous projects and workshops for children and adults. Anartist in her own right, Sophie has produced work in various mediums from linocuts to cast iron sculpture to oil paintings. Peters has exhibited both nationally and internationally and in recent years her works has been featured in several major South African exhibitions including “Peace for South Africa” in Switzerland ( 1995), “Woman on South Africa” (1995) in the Paarl Museum and ‘South African Artist” (1990) in London just to name a few. When asked about her artistic influences she replied, “My work is an expression of myself. I am not really influenced by any one artist but only by my own particular experiences”.An avid muralist, Sophie Peters has contributed her skills back to the community many times over including several in the Cape Town area as well as four murals in London co-designed with other participating South Africa artist for the Zabalaza festival in 1990. Her work has been extensively featured South African magazines and collected by the South African National Gallery.

Featured Film

Love in the Midst of Climate Change

The Midst Of Climate Change is a documentary that highlights ordinary people doing extraordinary things to survive and lead decent lives in the teeth of adverse circumstances. It chronicles the work of climate change activists in Cape Town, SA and Newark, New Jersey as they work to bring the reality of climate change home to the people who are most affected. We believe that only as a mass movement can we effect change, so the mission of this film is to reach as many as possible. Thanks to the contributions of many (not least AFEM 2018), we raised enough money to complete a 20 minute short which screened in the US, Morocco and Finland. We continue to seek funding to complete the full project, Please donate!

Crowdfunding link: http://www.commonmindsmedia.com/

Afems 2020

Afems Digital Events July-September 2020

Cape Town, 30 June 2020

Dear AFEMS Community,

We trust this finds you well notwithstanding this moment we collectively find ourselves in. Our breath is now more than ever at the forefront of conversations. Fighting to breathe in the unequal struggle against COVID, protecting our breath as a preventative act for survival, and the recurring screams, “I can’t breathe,” of black bodies fighting for their right to exist in an antiblack world, are foremost in the safeguarding and upholding of black life. We trust that between Zoom meetings, the economic fallout of the pandemic, and all else you deal with in your life you are taking time to breathe deeply because breathing too, is activism and radical healing.

In this moment of collective anguish and activism, Kharnita Mohamed’s ( AFEMS 2019) words resonate: “There is something about this moment, about the intensity and intensification of violence we cannot hide from, we cannot rest from, retreat from. Not that we ever could, not if we were alert to the world.” The coronavirus felt like a collective trauma until we recognized the longstanding social violence that predisposes some to infection and death; until we were crudely reminded that black bodies continue to experience extrajudicial punishment by the police, and that womxn’s bodies continue to be found in ditches or hung on trees.

We invite you to join the AFEMS 2020 virtual community in reflecting on the refusals of this moment and in choosing feminist healing.  Our online interventions are inspired by Mmatshilo Motsei when she writes:

“I choose not to throw up my arms in desperation asking the question: Baba senzani na? [ What have we done?]. Instead, I choose to raise my arms in gratitude ready to receive divine […] feminist opportunities ushered in by the era, of the moment.”

1.     #AFEMSMoments – July, August, and September 2020:

Reminding that this moment connects to ongoing feminist activism and reflection, we will share a selection of insightful ( and hopefully inspirational) clips from earlier African Feminisms (Afems) meetings on Facebook (www.facebook.com/africanfeminisms), YouTube (Afems African Feminisms Conference), Twitter (@afemsconference), Instagram (@afemsconference) and the AFEMS website.

2.     AFEMS Digital Healing Circle – 17th September 2020:

Facilitated by Mmatshilo Motsei, this Zoom event will include a webinar, breakout sessions, a creative performance, and a feminist wine down. We will share registration information for the digital Zoom event on all our platforms by the end of August 2020.

To be Black, to be womxn, to be non-binary in this world is to live in refusal, in resilience, in a state of continuing to claim our breath. What supports your continued breathing through this moment?

We are excited to be in community with you and look forward to your engagement.

Stay well,

The AFEMS Committee
Afems2020@gmail.com

More about Afems Digital Event – 10 September 2020, 16-18h here

afems2020_matshilo_webinar.jpg

Lallitha Jawahirilal

Lallitha Jawahirilal (b. 1955, Ladysmith) is a South African visual artist, who enrolled at the Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts in London in 1984 and graduated with a BA Degree in in 1987. She continued to study at the Royal College of Art London where she graduated with an MA degree in 1989. She collaborated with South African exile writers, musicians, sculptors, painters and photographers in the UK and engaged in fundraising efforts for to support the anti-apartheid movement, and participated in group exhibitions, including the ‘Artists Against Apartheid’ exhibition in the Upper Street Gallery. She held solo exhibitions at the Africa Centre in Stockholm, Gallery 21 in Johannesburg and the Galerie Trapez in Berlin. In 1990, she was awarded a residency by the Delfina Studios Trust in London and won the Discerning Eye Award in 1991, and the Pollack Krasner Award in 1992.

Her work deals with space as a deeply embedded construct in one’s psyche during exile. Jawahirilal fled apartheid South Africa in the 1980s and went into self-imposed exile in London where she then took up her art studies, continuously engaged her contradictory feelings to her home country (and especially her home town of Ladysmith) which wavers between deep loving emotion, on-going conflict and in some senses, a feeling of spiritual entanglement with her place of birth. Using her own poetry, mixed media (painting and collage), Jawahirilal’s Oh South Africa(1980, 2011) series reflects her longing for her home during her time away in London, but also since 2004 when she took up permanent residence in India. 

Career
Fine Art Lecturer at the University of Durban-Westville, South Africa (1994-2000) Master Degree in Painting at the Royal College of Art, London (1989)
Bachelor of Arts, First Class Honours at the Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts, London (1987)

Selected Awards 

1994 Elizabeth Foundation Award, United States of America  [view pdf here]
1992 Pollock Krasner Award, United States of America [view pdf here]
1991 Discerning Eye Award, Mall Galleries, London
1989-90 African Education Trust Award, London 

CREATIVE DIALOGUE

Art on Mind Creative Dialogue with Lallitha Jawahirilal on 10 October 2019 at The Point of Order Project Space, Wits School of the Arts, Wits University, Johannesburg, South Africa (sponsored by the NRF Thutuka Fund and Wits University).

AUDIO: Art on our Mind Creative Dialogue with Lallitha Jawahirilal

TRANSCRIPT: Art on our Mind Creative Dialogue with Lallitha Jawahirilal

ARCHIVAL RESOURCES: Lallitha Jawahirilal

WORKS by Lallitha Jawahirilal

WORKS
EXHIBITIONS
PROJECTS AND RESEARCH

CATALOGUES, PRESS AND REVIEWS on Lallitha Jawahirilal

PUBLICATIONS
INTERVIEWS & FEATURES

Artist CV
[pdf here]

Natasha Becker

Natasha Becker 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) and was appointed inaugural curator of African art at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco in December 2020.

CREATIVE DIALOGUE

Art on our Mind Creative Dialogue with South African Curator Natasha Becker and Sharlene Khan on 5 September 2019 at The Point of Order. The event was part of the African Feminisms (Afems) conference 2019: Theorising from the Epicentres of our Agency, at the Wits School of the Arts, Wits University, Johannesburg, South Africa.

 

AUDIO: Art on our Mind Creative Dialogue with Natasha Becker

TRANSCRIPT: Art on our Mind Creative Dialogue with Natasha Becker

Find Natasha Becker on Instagram


Assembly Room New York invited curators to speak about curating in the time of COVID19, watch episode #1 with Natasha Becker online:

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Curating at the time of COVID19 is a series of short, homemade videos, by our fellow independent women curators, discussing curating practices during the lockdown.😷 . We are committed to continuing our mission to create community and to support the work of independent women curators by sharing our stories, our work, and our inspiration in these challenging times. We invite you to enjoy our new online content created by our community of awesome women! Topics include; What does an independent curator do? What do curators think of online exhibitions? What artists, artworks, and exhibitions are curators working on or inspired by? . Our guest for the first episode is Natasha Becker, the co-founder curator of Assembly Room.🎊🎉🎊 . Bio: Natasha was born in South Africa and has spent the last sixteen years living and working between Cape Town and New York. 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 in South Africa and the United States. 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 experience includes curating exhibitions at the Goodman Gallery (South Africa), organizing public programs in global art history at the Clark Art Institute, and launching an international video art festival (both Massachusetts, USA). . More to come. Stay tuned!📡📡📡

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ARCHIVAL RESOURCES: Natasha Becker

WORKS by Natasha Becker
CURATORIAL WORK
WRITING

PRESS AND REVIEWS on Natasha Becker
PRESS AND REVIEWS

Curator’s website and CV

Mamela Nyamza

Mamela Nyamza was born and bred in Gugulethu township, near Cape Town in South Africa. From a tender age of 8 years whilst learning Ballet at the Zama Dance School in Gugulethu, Ms Nyamza, knew from the onset that, her love of body movement will eventually bring both prejudice and prestige to her career as a dance-theatre performing artist. Consistently ridiculed by her childhood peers for her athletic built toned body, to the ultimate rebuke and rejection of her natural body structure by her classical Ballet Teachers at tertiary level, Ms Nyamza inevitably was drawn to the politics of the body.

Continue reading “Mamela Nyamza”

WORKS: Natasha Becker – Writing

Texts by Natasha Becker

MA Thesis

Becker, N. (2002) Inside and Outside the Family Album. Making, exhibiting and archiving the photograph in the South African National Gallery and the National Library of South Africa. Univerity of the Western Cape, available at:
http://hdl.handle.net/11394/6046

One of the first things that reached me about photography was how a photograph tells a story or stories. This experience is perhaps most common when viewing personal photographs. A few years ago I was looking through a vast number of personal photographs, of a family I knew well, and was struck by how all the photographs (in albums, framed or lying loosely about) were part of a particular family narrative. Even without the storytelling, which accompanied my viewing of the photographs, I could still ‘read’ bits and pieces of the family history (and the broader social, political and cultural histories) in their photographs.

Journal articles and essays

2021 (forthcoming) ‘In the Wake of Okwui Enwezor’. NKA: Journal for Contemporary African Art. Special Issue on Curator Okwui Enwezor.

March 2020 ‘To Imagine a Future World’. Curatorial Essay, exhibition catalogue, Present Passing, Osage Art Foundation, Hong Kong, China

February 2020 ‘Forever if Composed of Nows’ Curatorial Essay, exhibition catalogue , A.I.R gallery, New York, NY

February 2020 ‘Pushing Through a Public Memorial’. Guest Contributor, Brooklyn Rail Critics Page, New York, NY

November 2019 ‘Where Does My Heart Reside?’ Guest Contributor, Brooklyn Rail Critics Page, New York, NY

May 2019 ‘An Ode to Love’ Curatorial Essay, Ford Foundation Art Gallery, New York, NY

October 2015 ‘Encountering Virginia Chihota’ Exhibition catalogue essay, Tiwani Contemporary: Virginia Chihota. A Thorn In My Flesh (munzwa munyama yangu)

2008 ‘Primitivism revisited: After the end of an idea’. African Arts, 41:1, 86-88, available online at: https://www.jstor.org/stable/20447874 [download pdf here]

2001 ‘The “Lives of Colour” Exhibition. South African National Gallery, September 1999’ Kronos 27 Visual History, 270-291 available online at: https://www.jstor.org/stable/41056681 [download pdf here]