Mary Sibande, They Don’t Make Them Like They Used To, 2008

Where: Somerset House, London

Pictures Allowed: Yes

Kid Friendly: Yes

Open: Saturday -Tuesday 10.00 – 18.00, Wed & Fri 11.00 – 20.00

Price: Free Admission

Containing selected works from her Long Live the Dead Queen (2008-13) series, I Came Apart at the Seams is South African artist Mary Sibande’s first UK solo exhibition. Sibande explores the construction of identity and delves into untold stories of generations of women in her family. Featuring life-sized sculptures surrounded by a series of large-scale photos, she challenges stereotypical depictions of black women. 

 

Sibande’s avatar ‘Sophie’ takes on personas of migrant mother, grandmother, and her own mother. In doing so she rewrites her family’s legacy. The fiberglass figure of the domestic housemaid is alluring and stands firm amidst opposition. Adapting the uniforms, Sibande reclaims the power and breaks free from the stereotypes of these women in post-apartheid South Africa. The closed eyes of the figure inform her dream-like state in which she is creating new realities. Outside this dream, the fantasy is actualised.

 

The uniforms transform her into an empowered character, triumphant over oppression, “I regard these women as superheroes,” she says. Enveloped in flowing fabrics which spread and take over, we’re introduced to the women who play vital roles which go unrealised outside of western Imperialism. The striking colours of the outfits represent different periods in Sibande’s artistic practice. Navigating the various rooms of the exhibition, it is akin to 3 slices from a colour wheel. The phases begin with royal blue, making the domestic workers royalty, then purple, synonymous with power and wisdom. The cycle concludes with red, a phase she is two years into. In this phase, she embodies the legacy of the Apartheid. Each body of work is inspired by a piece of history.

Words: Joke Amusan

Where: CCA, Lagos

Pictures Allowed: Yes

Kid Friendly: Yes

Open: Monday - Friday 10.00 -18.00

Price: Free admission 

The Centre for Contemporary Art Lagos and KADIST Paris have teamed up to produce the group exhibition Diaspora at Home, which explores a number of conversations on the issue of mobility within Africa.

 

Although the term diaspora is used to refer to any migrant group and their descendants who maintain a link with their place of origin, it is rarely applied to Africans within Africa, raising a critical question: why not? Statistically, most Africans move within their own country, in rural-to-urban migration, or to other countries within the same region - creating diasporas within the continent and in their own countries. 

 

Diaspora at Home delves into the long history and practice of migration within the continent, reflecting on the role of artistic forms in the circulation and sharing of knowledge. The exhibition takes an alternative approach to highlight political and economic factors of mobility within the continent, considering both humans and natural resources, knowledge, languages; and the historical consequences of these movements as it affects issues of ecology, racism and colonial history. The artists featured in the exhibition include Nidhal Chamekh, Bady Dalloul, Em’kal Eyongakpa, Rahima Gambo, Laura Henno, Abraham Oghobase, Wura-Natasha Ogunji, Chloe Quenum. And screenings by Jumana Manna and Marie Voignier.

This full collaborative project includes a program of artist residencies in Lagos, an exhibition and a series of artist talks and conversations at CCA Lagos, organised in the memory of Bisi Silva (1962 – 2019), founder of CCA, Lagos who strongly believed in promoting cultural exchanges and creating new networks.

Em'kal Eyongakpa, Untitled 1 (Naked routes), 2011

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