On our radar: Dr Same Mdluli

Recently appointed Manager of the Standard Bank Gallery, Dr Same Mdluli holds a PhD in art history and also writes about the visual arts. Born and raised in Botswana and the USA, while her family were exiled during the apartheid regime, she returned after the country’s first democratic elections in 1994. However, she still considers Botswana one of her homelands. ‘What excites me the most about the continent right now is the fact that the world’s looking to Africa for innovation, creativity and a renewed sense of humanity,’ she says. These are some of her passions.

1. MAYA ANGELOU

One of my favourite quotes from this poet is: ‘I’ve learnt that people will forget what you said and people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’

2. NEW YORK AND PARIS

New York is a city I love falling asleep in after enjoying its nightlife, while Paris is the ideal place in which to wake up. It’s amazing in the morning, with bakeries selling fresh bread and croissants. It’s also a place where one can enjoy getting lost and experiencing its wealth of cultural activities.

3. MUSEÉ DU QUAI BRANLY

This museum in Paris is overwhelming in both a positive and negative way. On the one hand, it’s a magnificent display of material culture from various parts of so called ‘non-Western’ countries. On the other, it can be viewed as a display of violent colonial conquest.

4. MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA

This film will always be one of my favourites in terms of cinematography, visual experience and captivating both the imagination and the emotions. It also has a beautiful soundtrack.

5. NINA SIMONE AND BILLIE HOLIDAY

These two artists frequently feature on my playlist because they’re mood music. They both lived extraordinary lives and were very real.

6. DREAM DINNER PARTY GUESTS

Frida Kahlo, Miriam Makeba, Assata Shakur, Steve Biko and Maya Angelou. Kahlo inspired me to become an artist, Makeba lived an amazing life and had a profound love for her continent and people, Assata was revolutionary for a black woman in her time, Biko represented black men who know their story and Angelou reminded black women why self-love is important.

7. MY WORKING RITUAL

I start my day by reading a current affairs article or an essay on something art-related in order to keep up with contemporary trends and commentaries, both locally and internationally.

8. ONE BY DOLCE & GABBANA

It’s a wonderful fragrance that lingers throughout the day.

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