SENZENI MARASELA and GUTO BUSSAB
Group Exhibition - 18th June to 4th July 2015
Marasela is interested in the multiplicity of the experience of waiting. The pathologies of the women that are either forced to wait or choose to wait. There is no easy way to wait in any society, especially so because it is women who are always expected to wait.” - Profile of 2015 FutureGreat artist, selected by Koyo Kouoh / Art Review – March 2015
The figures in Senzeni Marasela’s linocuts and etchings cut the familiar forms of that woman so much a part of the fabric of any South African day; so often lost against the swirl, camouflaged by her sheer ubiquity, bowed by stoic servitude - doek, the servants uniform, a thin echo of some French maid’s dress, the head in shadow or silhouette. Marasela wedges this woman into the center of our consciousness. She is after all the very backbone of her country; and like all successful fulcrums, the tragedy is that her invisibility stems from her efficiency – if only she were not so expert at waiting for her husband to return, not so proficient at walking. Marasela’s prints originate from her performance work, and on this exhibition in particular come from her foundational work “Theodorah comes to Johannesburg“ (2003 - ongoing) and 2013’s “Ijeremani Lam – Waiting for Gebane Mthetyane” as well as select new work.
“Theodorah comes to Johannesburg”, is a performance based on her own mothers’ stories about travels from the village of Mvenyane to Johannesburg. A distance of 11 hours. Like many young black women in the city her mother was traumatised by events that took place in the 1960s Johannesburg. Many young black women returned to live in the villages and many more were forced to undertake journeys into strangeness. For this work Marasela wore a yellow dress given to by her mother. This dress has been translated into many drawings, linocuts and thread work.
In 2013, Theodorah took on another journey, we find her in Johannesburg looking for her husband Gebane Mthetyane. The migration system of apartheid South Africa forced many black women into mysterious forms of waiting. The disintegration of a black family, first by men and second by women who left their children and followed their husbands coming into the city.
For her latest work, The Red Dress, Marasela has made a choice to stay in the same red dress daily, fully embodying Theodorah and to be seen as such by people she comes across. She has to date collected ten dresses, and they are all made by the same person, with same material and same pattern. She intends on having 150 of these dresses and will wear all of them throughout the project which she envisages will last until 2018/2019. There is an intensity to the wait, the heaviness of the experience; an extreme that is unique to women like Theodora; ubiquitous, stoic, the camouflaged backbone.
Orginally from Brasil and working primarily in photography Guto Bussab draws his subject matter from the similarities within the South-South paradigm; be they of identity, inequality, civic responsibility or gender politics.
There is a clear sense of unease in his work, whatever the subject matter - be it the indistinct line between sleep and death, or psychosexual embodiment - in order to articulate and reflect the South-South as places where society functions in extremes.
Performance by Angel~Ho - ‘reConditioning The Consumer’
Air freshener supposably can create an ‘escape’ or fantasy - according to the marketing on the can. If a space is governed by air freshener understanding Angel-Ho cannot exist in it.
Angel-Ho is a binary character in conflict with how society distributes power. She deconstructs identity archetypes and how these montage in society and play in the narrative of South Africa. She deconstructs the genealogy of public space and her body falling into systems which try to govern or rehabilitate her heritage and self.
Or as Angel-Ho tell us, “Sounds becoming sourced from the net and distys transformed into a narrative which deconstructs identity archetypes and how those function and play within the structures of society. The sound accentuates my performance and becomes the backstory of Angel-Ho, a binary, or a difficulty in living within structures which distribute power”.
Runnin’ With Knives (2015)
ANGEL-HO is the performance persona of Angelo Valerio, a Cape Town-based artist.
Valerio uses the character of Angel-Ho to challenge tropes around classism, identity, sexuality, gender and race.
His performance work surrounds a representation of the “Nu-Queer” identity: one that is not subject to dehumanisation, objectification or “othering”, and instead elevates the body to a position of power.