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
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.
2008 The African Art Centre, Durban 2002 Greatmore Studios, Cape Town 2001 Puddled Sand and Red Ashes, Monash University Faculty Gallery, Australia 1999 Curwen Gallery, London 1996 New Academy Gallery, London 1994 New Academy Gallery, London 1991 Galerie Trapez, Berlin 1990 Gallery 21, Johannesburg 1990 198 Gallery, London 1985 Africa Centre, Stockholm
Selected Group Exhibitions
2007 ‘Confluence’, Kalakriti Art Gallery, Hyderabad 2007 16th Anniversary Art Salon, Bangalore 2006 ‘Art Camp’, Renaissance Art Centre, Mumbai 2005 River Arts & Music Festival, Ladysmith, South Africa 2004 ‘Decade Of Democracy’, South African National Gallery, Cape Town 2003 ‘Journeys’, Ernest G. Welsh School of Art and Design, Atlanta 2001 ‘Jabulisa, The Art of KwaZulu Natal’, Durban Art Gallery, South Africa 2000 African Art Centre, Durban, South Africa 1999 Nico Malan Theatre, Cape Town 1998 ‘Kunst aus Südafrika’, Gallerie Seippel, Stuttgart, Germany 1998 Newcastle Museum, United Kingdom 1997 Trienalle, Lalit Kala Academy, New Delhi 1996 ‘Conjures’, First Gallery, Johannesburg 1991 ‘Discerning Eye’,The Mall Galleries, London 1991 Barcelona International Biennale, Spain 1990 Contemporary Art Society, Art Market, Smith Gallery, London 1990 ‘Broadgate’, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London 1989 ‘Art London/89’, London 1987-8 Third International Bienniale Print Exhibition, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taiwan 1985 Mirror Reflecting Darkly: Black Women’s Art, Brixton Art Collective, London.
Mirror Reflecting Darkly: Black Women’s Art. 18 June – 6 July, Brixton Art Gallery, London. Unpag. (10 pp.) exhibiyion catalogue. Group exhibition of 16 Black women artists collective. Artists included: Brenda Patricia Agard, Zarina Bhimji, Jennifer Comrie, Novette Cummings, Valentina Emenyeoni, Carole Enahoro, Elisabeth Jackson, Lallitha Jawahirilal, Rita Keegan, Christine Luboga, Sue Macfarlane, Olusola Oyeleye, Betty Vaughan Richards, Enoyte Wanagho, and Paula Williams. 8vo, orange covers. Source: Brixton 50. Brixton Art Gallery Archive 1983-86
Here (VR dance film installation, South Africa, 10mins) Presented at: Immersive Africa Exhibition – A Collection of 360° Narratives Works by work by Nyasha Kadandara, Shelley Barry and Nirma Madhoo. Isivivana Center in Khayelitsha, Cape Town. 10-13 December 2019 Curated by Electric South
Second Creativate Digital Arts Festival at the National Arts Festival Makhanda, 27 June to 7 July 2019 National Arts Festival 2019 #1, #2, #3
An Evening With Shelley Barry
28 April 2010, New York University, 19 University Place, 1st Fl theater. Room 102. Part of the disTHIS! Film Series, a project of the Disabilities Network of NYC in association with the New York University Council for the Study of Disability, a monthly showcase of festival quality independent and international short, documentary and feature films with disability themes audiences are unlikely to see elsewhere. Film director Shelley Barry @ NYU, Sean Jacobs, Africasacrountry
Umbilical Cord (rehearsal documentation) Presented at: eVokability: The Walking Project 14, 15, 16 June 2007 Dance Theatre Workshop Studio 219 West 19th Street, NYC 10011
22 & 23 June 2007 Spirit Wind Studio 213 New St., Philadelphia, PA 19106
Out of Reach (video poetry) The city is out of reach for people with disabilities.
Ink/Visible A writer contemplates how writing counters invisibility.
Keep in Touch
This fast paced, edgy music documentary celebrates the rise of Dope St Junde, a young, gender queer hip- hop star and all the challenges she faces in their quest for success.
Review: Staff writer (2015) Feminist Filmmaker Meets Boss Bitch Rapper. thejournalist 18 June 2015. Available online here.
I’m Not Done Yet A tribute to artist, activist and writer, Charlene Maslamoney who succumbed to cancer in 2013. The 48-minute documentary celebrates Charlene’s work.
Reviews: Arts Writer (2015) Filmmaker Barry’s new work inspires hope. Cape Times 21 May 2015. Available online here. Cornelius, Jerome (2015) Film on activist’s cancer journey to touch patients’ lives. Times Live (7 August 2015). Available online here. Lewis, Desiree (2015) Gender, feminism and food studies. African Security Review, 24(4): 414-429. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10246029.2015.1090115 Available online here.
Diaries of a Dissident Poet (shortened documentary feature) Tracing the story of Dr James Matthews who used poetry to fight against the struggle and save his own life. Selected and sold out: Encounters Documentary Film Festival.
Mr Shakes the Passion to Live (shortened documentary feature) A story of disco, cancer, tik. And Jesus. Selected and sold out: Encounters Documentary Film Festival
Inclinations (short fiction) Co-directed with Jen Simmons A writer faces blocks in writing and in love. Extensive screenings worldwide. Purchased by MTV in 2007 Selected as top 10 click list on MTV’s online film site.
Where are my Heels? (experimental documentary) A two year old girl in Puerto Rico takes over a party.
Pants? Skirt? Lipstick? Queer couples and their friends plot a night of fooling immigration for a green card, during the Presidency of George Bush. Selected for screening at The San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
Whole: A Trinity of Being (experimental documentary) Three experimental shorts which deal with sexuality, visibility, and voice from the perspective of a wheelchair user who turns the camera on herself to celebrate love and survival. Including Pin Pricks, Voice/Over and Entry (Source: African Film Festival New York)
Best Film: Superfest: California Best Narrative Short: Philadelphia Festival of Independents Best Experimental Film: Breaking Barriers Festival: Moscow Best Experimental Film: Projections 2: Canada Spirit of Independence Award: Brooklyn (New York) International Disability Film Festival Jurors Citation Award: Black Maria Film Festival, New Jersey Outstanding Graduate Student Award, Pennsylvania Association of Graduate Schools Audre Lorde scholarship award for media production Television Acquisition: WYBE, DUTV (community tv stations USA) SABC, SA International festival screenings
ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images: A woman visits the art installation ‘Giant Walk-In Vagina’ installed at a former women’s prison by artist Reshma Chhiba in Johannesburg on August 27, 2013. Continue reading “REVIEWS: Reshma Chhiba”
Chhiba, R. (2017) The two talking yonis : the use of Hindu iconography in conversations of race, identity, politics and womanhood within contemporary South African art. Nidan : International Journal for Indian Studies, Volume 2 Number 2, pp. 44 – 60
This article looks at the use of Hindu iconography within South African visual art practice and its relation to race, identity, politics and womanhood in the work of Reshma Chhiba. It draws primarily on work from the 2013 exhibition entitled The Two Talking Yonis: Reshma Chhiba in conversation with Nontobeko Ntombela, and discusses Chhiba’s use of the image of the goddess Kali, the concept of yoni, the use of Bharatanatyam and understandings of feminine energy in relation to womanhood. It also threads a narrative of Chhiba’s ancestry through a poetic description of her grandmother’s journey from India to South Africa, and the embodiment of Kali as a form of defiance not only in her work, but also in her grandmother. https://journals.co.za/content/journal/10520/EJC-c195dbc56
22-25 June 2018, Michaelis Galleries, University of Cape Town 31-37 Orange Street, Gardens, Cape Town Opening Hours: Tuesday – Friday, 11- 4pm Contact Nkule Mabaso on 021 650 7170 for more information
The exhibition Re-membering: Memory, Intimacy, Archive features works by South African artists Reshma Chhiba, Sharlene Khan and Jordache A. Ellapen from their projects titled Kali (2008) and The Two Talking Yonis (2013); When the Moon Waxes Red (2016); and Queering the Archive: Brown Bodies in Ecstasy (2016) respectively. In these projects, through the lens of the ‘Indian’ experience, these artists explore and unsettle notions of memory, race, class, gender, and sexuality in post-apartheid South Africa and comment on the nuances and complexities of everyday life in South Africa. In Chhiba’s works, the Indian goddess Kāli is a central starting point where particular reference is made to her iconography and mythology. For her series, Khan works with different visual media like video-art, digital photography, and needle-lace to produce “visual textured narratives”, which narrate the difficult circumstances experienced by migratory women. Ellapen engages black and white archival studio photographs and digital photographs to produce digital “visual assemblages” that disrupts the heteronormative logics of family, community, and nation. Their works jointly speak to everyday experiences and performativities of identities shaped through the tensions of cultural migrations, familial love, loss and mythologies that are too often simplistically and sentimentally rendered. These entanglements add richness to a segment of South African history that is still lacking.
Re-membering Lunchtime Lecture, UCT 25 July 2018
Lunchtime lecture by Sharlene Khan and Reshma Chhiba on their exhibition with Jordache Ellapen “Re-membering: Memory, Intimacy, Archive” held at the University of Cape Town, 25 July 2018