2022 Biennial artist Buhlebezwe Siwani is joined by Dr. George Mahashe for an intimate conversation that brings together Mahashe’s ongoing research at the intersection of artistic practice, archives, and anthropology with Siwani’s work, which interrogates the patriarchal framing of the Black female body and experience within the South African context. Moderated by curator Emilie Croning, this discussion will move through tributaries of thought such as Siwani’s artistic practice on rituality, their collaborations on works such as Siwani’s Sinje Ngamajuba, and the relationship between Christianity and African spirituality with a focus on khelobedu. The program will open with a Chivanhhu-centred opening ceremony led by musician, storyteller, and lecturer Dr. Moyo Rainos Mutamba.
This program is part of We Might Listen for the Shimmerings, a curatorial project organized by Chiedza Pasipanodya, as part of the 2022 Toronto Biennial of Art Curatorial Fellowship program, made possible by the generous support of TD Bank Group, through the TD Ready Commitment, and presented in partnership with Wedge Curatorial Projects, and the Toronto Arts Council.
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Buhlebezwe Siwani (born in 1987, Johannesburg, South Africa; lives and works in Cape Town and Amsterdam) works with performance, photography, sculpture, and installation. Buhlebezwe’s work interrogates the patriarchal framing of the Black female body and the Black female experience within the South African context. As an initiated Sangoma, a spiritual healer that works within the space of the dead and the living, Buhlebezwe focuses her artistic practice on rituality and the relationship between Christianity and African spirituality. Her own body is central to her work, which operates in multiple registers as subject, object, form, medium, material, language, and site.
Dr. George Mahashe (born in 1982, Bolobedu, South Africa; lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa) works in the field of photography at the intersection of artistic practice, archives, anthropology and society & technology. His research takes khelobedu as a central idea, drawing on its capacity for complicating ways of knowing. Mahashe is based at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town where he convenes the Honours in Curatorship programme. He is currently convenor of the Connect South Africa residency programme (initiated through a collaboration between CERN and Pro Helvetia) facilitating two selected artists with scientists from the South Africa’s astronomical observatories (SARAO and SAAO). His latest camera obscura installation Lebitla la Ngaka is currently on at the Javett Art Centre at the University of Pretoria as part of the exhibition Interfacing New Heavens.
Dr. Moyo Rainos Mutamba (born in 1981, Gutu, Zimbabwe; lives and works in Toronto, Canada and Gutu, Zimbabwe) is a lecturer, musician, storyteller, consultant and community builder. Moyo is interested in understanding mindsets and structures of Othering as well as embodied responses to challenging Othering. He is also curious about the deployment of Black/Indigenous thought and praxis in imagining life-affirming futures and cultures of belonging for all. Moyo is the co-founder of Ubuntu Learning Village, a rural hub for embodied learning around food sovereignty, arts, cultural reclamation, and trans-local community-building, and the Ubuntu Free School (UFS), an Ubuntu-centred learning space for children located in Gutu, Zimbabwe.
Emilie Croning (lives and works in Toronto, Canada) is an independent curator, artist, and art historian. Her work explores issues and systems around representation and identity as they relate to visual language and diasporic narratives, working at the intersections of feminist theories and post-colonialism. Her practice is grounded in creating space and advocating for emerging artists in a global context. Her recent curatorial projects include, Jorian Charlton: Out of Many (Art Gallery of Ontario, and Online (Gallery TPW, 2021), Colour Love (Cry Baby Gallery, 2020), Handle With Care (The Gladstone Hotel, 2020), a love ethic (The Gladstone Hotel, 2019). She received her BFA in Art History & Studio Art from Concordia University (Montréal) and an MA in Art History and a Curatorial Studies in Visual Culture Diploma from York University (Toronto).