Creative Theorisation Panel

Thinking Through, Talking Back: Creative Theorisation as Sites
of Praxis-Theory

Creative Theorisation Panel from left: Dr Betty Govinden, Prof Neelika Jayawardene, Dr Sharlene Khan, Dr Yvette Abrams, Prof Pumla Dineo Gqola.

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]

Find the biographies of the panelists below

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Curating as World-Making

Curating as World-Making panel (from left): Sharlene Khan, Nomusa Makhubu, Nontobeko Ntombela, Same Mdluli, Nkule Mabaso and Zodwa Skeyi-Tutani.

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

Devarakshanam (Betty) Govinden

Betty Govinden is a literary and educational scholar and poet. She is the author of the award-winning book ‘Sister Outsiders’: Representation of Identity and Difference in Selected South African Indian Women’s Writings(Unisa Press, 2008) and A Time of Memory: Reflections on South African Writing(Solo Collective, 2008).

WORKS by Betty Govinden


INTERVIEWS/FEATURES: Lallitha Jawahirilal

Vuyile C Voyiya; Julie L McGee (2003) The luggage is still labeled : blackness in South African art. Documentary film, 60 mins.

Smithonian Libraries Modern African Art: A Basic Reading List
“For South African artists of color the demise of apartheid did not radically change access or attitudes. Separateness and difference still divide the contemporary art world into black and white. Black artists are beginning to take on some of these issues – – access, recognition, education. Despite initiatives such as Vakalisa (“Awake”), the Community Arts Project, or BLAC art project, South African artists of color are still disadvantaged. Formal art education, which was not available to artists of color in the apartheid days, remains an elitist enterprise with little collegial support. Michaelis School of Art in Cape Town has not yet shaken off its institutional racism in terms of student intake, faculty recruitment, or Eurocentric curriculum. Art criticism is similarly biased against artists of color. Old paradigms persist, e.g., “township art” or “black art.” Artists are still pigeon-holed. Freedom of artistic expression has not really arrived. Where are the black art critics? The South African National Gallery (SANG), formidable, unwelcoming, admits to huge gaps in its collections. Artists of color perceive SANG as another white bastion not yet breached. They feel that SANG is not interested in them and their work. To explore these issues of race and access the filmmakers conducted interviews with several South African artists and players on the art scene. Among those on camera are Peter E. Clarke, Garth Erasmus, Thembinkosi Goniwe, Zayd Minty, Gavin Younge, David Koloane, Mgcineni Sobopha, Berni Searle, Lallitha Jawahirilal, Gabisile Ngcobo, Moshekwa Langa, Graham Faulken, Marilyn Martin, the director of SANG, and writer Lionel Davis.”

Press clippings Lallitha Jawahirilal


Publications and interviews featuring Reshma Chhiba

International Women’s Month Series: Reshma Chhiba. FNB Art Joburg

Screaming, walk-in vagina at a former women’s prison
AFP news agency, 30 August 2013
A walk-in vagina has been installed at Johannesburg’s old women’s jail, to celebrate women’s month. Visitors are invited to enter the art work to a soundtrack of screaming and laughter, which represents the Hindu Goddess Kali.

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Lallitha Jawahirilal

Lallitha Jawahirilal at the Matri Sadan Ashram Ganga Ghat, south Haridwar, India in 2019. Image courtesy of the artist

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 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. Jawahirilal 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 engaging her contradictory feelings towards 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 and 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. 

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 


VIDEO: 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

TRANSCRIPT: Art on our Mind Creative Dialogue with Lallitha Jawahirilal

ARCHIVAL RESOURCES: Lallitha Jawahirilal

WORKS by Lallitha Jawahirilal




Artist CV
[pdf here]

Artist profile:
Ben Uri Research Unit

Lebohang Kganye

Artist photo provided by artist

Lebohang Kganye (b. 1990, Katlehong, South Africa) lives and works in Johannesburg. Kganye received her introduction to photography at the Market Photo Workshop, in Johannesburg, in 2009 and completed the Advanced Photography Program in 2011. She obtained a Diploma in Fine Arts from the University of Johannesburg in 2014 and is currently completing her master’s in fine arts at the Witwatersrand University. Notable awards include the Grand Prix Images Vevey 2021/22, Paulo Cunha e Silva Art Prize, 2020, Camera Austria Award, 2019 and was the finalist of the Rolex Mentor & Protégé Arts Initiative, 2019. As winner of the Foam Paul Huf Award 2022, in 2023 Kganye held her first survey exhibition Haufi nyana? I’ve come to take you home in Europe at Foam, Amsterdam. A solo exhibition Shall you Return Everything, but the Burden of Kganye’s newly commissioned works is currently presented by the Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum, Cologne.

Earlier solo exhibitions include: Ternary Memories of Yesterday (Galleri Image, Aarhus, Denmark), Dipina tsa Kganya: Leave the Light on When You Leave for Good (Georgian House Museum, Bristol, UK), The Stories We Tell: Memory as Material, at George Bizos Gallery, the Apartheid Museum, Johannesburg, South Africa (2020); Ke Lefa Laka: Her-story, Le Molière, Paris, France (2019); Mohlokomedi wa Tora, Pretoria Art Museum, Pretoria, South Africa (2018); Ke Lefa Laka: Her-story, Festival Africolor at Université Paris 13, in Bobigny and Villetaneuse, Paris, France (2016); and Ke Lefa Laka at Market Photo Workshop, Johannesburg, South Africa (2013). A two-person exhibition Tell Me What You Remember with Kganye and Sue Williamson was recently presented by the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia (2023). Group exhibitions include A World in Common: Contemporary African Photography, at Tate Modern, London, The Struggle of Memory : Part 1 at PalaisPopulaire, Berlin, Germany (both 2023-24), Insistent Presence: Contemporary African Art from the Chazen Collection, Chazen Museum of Art, Wisconsin (2023) and The Way She Looks: A History of Female Gazes in African Portraiture at the Ryerson Image Centre, Toronto, Canada (2019). Recent touring group exhibitions include As We Rise, by Aperture, Art Museum, University of Toronto, Polygon Gallery, Vancouver and Peabody Essex Museum, Salem (2022-23), Family Affairs. Family in Current Photography at the House of Photography in Deichtorhallen Hamburg, Germany and Kunsthalle Erfurt, Germany (2021-23) and The Power of My Hands, at Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris, France and Museu Nacional de História Natural, Luanda (in 2021-23). Kganye has participated in biennales and triennials around the world including Currency as part of the Triennale of Photography Hamburg at the Hall of Contemporary Art in Deichtorhallen, Hamburg (2022); Congo Biennale, Kinshasa (2022); Casablanca Biennale, Casablanca (2022) and the OZANGÉ Spanish Biennial of African Photography, Malaga (2022). In 2022, Kganye was selected as one of three leading contemporary artists to represent South Africa in the 59th Venice Biennale.

Kganye’s work is held in public collections including the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC and the Art Institute of Chicago; Chazen Museum of Art; Wisconsin, Getty Museum; LA, Museum of Fine Arts; Houston, JP Morgan Art Collection; New York, Carnegie Art Museum; Pennsylvania, Victoria and Albert Museum; London, Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris, Paris, the Centre National des Arts Plastiques; Paris, FRAC Réunion; Réunion, Walther Collection; Ulm and Wedge Collection; Toronto. 


Lebohang Kganye and Sharlene Khan at The Point of Order, Johannesburg on 9 May 2019.

AUDIO: Art on our Mind Creative Dialogue with Lebohang Kganye

TRANSCRIPT: Art on our Mind Creative Dialogue with Lebohang Kganye

Find Lebohang Kganye on Instagram:


WORKS by Lebohang Kganye


Artist’s website links:


WRITING on Lebohang Kganye

Artists’ 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, 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, Nyamza inevitably was drawn to the politics of the body.

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