In the second iteration of the travelling art project Ikhono LaseNatali (“talent” or “skill” in Zulu), initiated earlier this year by visual activist and acclaimed South African artist, Prof Sir Zanele Muholi, Cape Town audiences will get a glimpse into a reimagining of one of the artist’s longest-spanning series of works.
Regarded as one of South Africa’s greatest living visual artists, Muholi’s work is also currently on display until 24 November as a part of the 58th Venice Biennale’s main exhibition, May You Live in Interesting Times.
With Ikhono LaseNatali, Muholi invited 25 emerging artists from KwaZulu-Natal to reinterpret the photographs featured in their on-going series Somnyama Ngonyama (Hail the Dark Lioness), which comments on the “(mis)representation of the black body in media such as colonial exoticisation of black people, hate crimes against the LGBTQIA+ community and the Marikana massacre”.
Started in 2012, the series features a number of self-portraits of the artist, which, with Ikhono LaseNatali, are reinterpreted by the 25 artists featured in the project, using a range of different mediums.
Ikhono LaseNatali provides young and emerging artists with the a platform, as Muholi believes that there are many black artists who are underrepresented in KwaZulu-Natal, but deserve recognition and access to gallery space.
The exhibition was first shown at the KZN Gallery in Durban, and the work is now being presented to Cape Town-based audiences.
It is curated by Dr Bajabulile La Dhlamini Sidzumo and Thobeka Bhengu, and features participating artists Nhlanhla Chonco, Mduduzi Dzanibe, Thalente Khomo, Lindokuhle Khumalo, Bongani Luthuli, Sthenjwa Luthuli, Morgan Mahape, Nkosikhona Majola, Mpilo Makhanya, Andile Maphumulo, Mthobisi Maphumulo, Buhle Wonder Mbambo, Mondli Mbhele, Ncumisa Mcitwa, Khulekani Mkhize, Nhlakanipho Mkhize, Mlamuli Mkhwanazi, Sphephelo Mnguni, Thembi Mthembu, Londiwe Mtshali, Nomusa Mtshali, Lungisani Ndlovu, Major Ndlovu, Lindani Nyandeni, and Zwelinjani Radebe.
In an effort to expand the influence the art can have in the communities it is shown in, Ikhono LaseNatali will also entail a “wide-reaching exchange with schools in the Western Cape to expose, engage and challenge youth to consider the tenets of inclusivity, creativity and collectivism”.
Ikhono LaseNatali celebrates 25 years of democracy with 25 emerging artists, and if you’ve always been a fan of Prof Sir Zanele Muholi’s work, you’ll love the innovative new ideas that other artists bring to the series.
Ikhono LaseNatali officially opened at the A4 Arts Foundation on 31 August, and will be on exhibit until 7 November this year.