curatorial intensive

Reciprocal Narratives about Place about Home

By Mthabisi Phili

For Curatorial Intensive in Johannesburg

Reciprocal Narratives about Place about Home

A proposal by Mthabisi Phili

Reciprocal Narratives about Place about Home is an exhibition that reviews the parallels and differences in our interactions with place or places, and how place(s) impose on our identity, perceptions, experiences, and sense of belonging. Further exploration of the theme leads to the breakdown of boundaries between place and home, and thus the exhibition discusses and asks: what is place, what is home, and to what extent and with what results can we extract ourselves from places and their powers?

The exhibition speaks in various media: video, photography, written text, and performance. The artists are drawn by birth from the physical spaces of South Africa, Zimbabwe, Wales, Germany, and some exist in between different places.

The performance work of Zodwa Nyoni (Zimbabwe/UK) explores the idea of home as inextricably linked to her family. She says, “I can no-longer return to the point of origin…homeland has changed…Zimbabwe is my beginning…it gave birth to me, gave me a name…England is my every day…it has loved me and rejected me and I realize that I exist in the space between Zimbabwe and England. I pull from both to identify who I am.”

Justin Davy (South Africa) is a filmmaker and visual artist, whose work interrogates the relationship between public and private spaces within the postcolonial South African context, focusing on unravelling personal narratives. His video My Town profiles South Africans’ journey to work in a unique culture in proximity to song and dance.

Thabiso Sekgala is a South African photographer, whose Homeland Series looks back to the Apartheid era and explores the ideas of place and identity. The politics of place are closely linked to those of land, ownership, and identity––all leading to conflict. His work in the exhibition helps us negotiate the comparison of two places––Zululand and Bulawayo––an interesting pairing, as these two places are linked by historical politics.

The discussion about place and home conjures up a consciousness of our geographic position––a position which is becoming more and more negligible in this time of globalisation, rapid migration trends, and technological advances. A question arises as to how we redefine and identify ourselves in these changing times, and thus the exhibition questions the role of place or lack thereof.

Contributing artists
Charles Bhebe: Zimbabwe
Sindisiwe Buthelezi: South Africa
Justin Davy: South Africa
Jade Gibson: South Africa/England
Christopher Andrew Hunt: Wales
Meghan Judge: South Africa
Zodwa Nyoni: Zimbabwe/UK
Mikkel Rytter Pulsen: Denmark/Zimbabwe
Preston Rolls: Germany
Thabiso Sekgala: South Africa
Allen Sibanda: Zimbabwe

Learn More

To learn more about this proposal please email Mthabisi Phili at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). To learn more about the Curatorial Intensive email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

About the Curator

Mthabisi Phili

Mthabisi Phili started organizing exhibitions in 2009, after having gone through training for Exhibitions Officer at Visual Arts Association of Bulawayo (2007-09). He has worked on several exhibitions at the National Gallery in Bulawayo, notably: Discovering Identities (2008), Voices in Colour (2009), Blue-Pencil (2010), Perception360 (2011), P.S. My speak! (2012), and Emergency (2012). He has been involved with the visual arts in Zimbabwe since 2002 and has been a Visual Arts Consultant for Intwasa Arts Festival since 2008. Phili has been published in various publications internationally. In November 2011, he founded Voices in Colour, an organization whose mission is to “connect contemporary cultures.”

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