Artist Lerato Shadi welcomes the pleasure of your company at her most recent solo exposition, Noka Ya Bokamoso. This exposition by the Mahikeng born, Berlin based video and performance creative, will mark her first appearance at the National Arts Festival. It will also be one of the six visual art displays selected for the focal programme of the festival.
The exposition presents four of Shadi’s newest masterpieces; two performative installations, Makhubu and Mosako Wa Nako, in addition to two videos, Sugar & Salt and Untitled.
Curator, Joan Legalamitlwa enlightens us on these creations: “The works on the show were purposefully selected as they weave together history as told by and through the Black female body, in its truest and sincerest form, as it should be. Noka Ya Bokamoso is about the Black subject being in control of its own narrative and also about encouraging the visitors to do some introspection when it comes to matters of identity and representation.”
Makhubu is carried out in the days prior to the festival and executed without an audience. This piece entails Shadi laboriously writing in concentric circles with a red pencil, before erasing the writing, leaving smidgens of the text on the wall and red remains of the rubber eraser on the ground. This piece focuses on the historical obliteration of the Black subject within the setting of Grahamstown’s challenging past, as well as historical expunction in the national narrative, and the manner in which that has affected the types of tales that we presently communicate. The nonexistence of an audience denotes a bodily metaphor, accentuating the means through which South Africans, resume to build a sense of nationhood, ignorant of the substantial violent doings that have moulded them.
While executing Mosako Wa Nako, Shadi will sit on one side of the gallery area, undisturbed, for six hours a day, for the duration of the festival, crocheting what appears to be a red woollen carpet. Sugar & Salt, a video in which Shadi and her mother ingest a mineral in the form of salt, and a carbohydrate in the form of sugar, reflects the complications and particulars of mother-daughter relationships.
The world premiere of Untitled, Shadi’s newest video, takes place at the National Arts Festival. The two-channel video will be filmed on location in her home village of Lotlhakane, in June 2016. The video will be conceptualised in three sections. The first section depicts the greatest extremes of individual resistance, the second section portrays how Shadi encounters the influence of colonial language, and the third section serves as an allegory of resistance.
Shadi’s art draws attention to damaging presumptions thrust upon the Black female body. It also concentrates on how performance, video and installation, grant creatives the opportunity to interact with those predetermined concepts, making the body both perceptible and imperceptible. By employing time, recurring activities and stillness, she asks, “How does one create oneself?” instead of permitting others or history to form one’s character.
The prime objective of Noka Ya Bokamoso is to redirect Shadi’s art to its key audience – the South African audience. Shadi has practiced and had her art displayed in New York, Bern, Dakar, Moscow and Scotland, and is now pursuing utilising her art to nurture and promote conversations, pertaining to questions of historical knowledge production, and its inclusion and omission of specific topics. Her ultimate ambition is that she, together with her audiences, will be driven to not only consume, but also wilfully participate, in the procedures of discovering subsumed histories and generating pivotal knowledge.
Noka Ya Bokamoso is made possible by the generous aid of the National Arts Festival.
All photographs by Erik Dettwiler and accessed from lerato-shadi.net.
Mesmerised by Lerato Shadi’s Art?
The 2016 National Arts Festival takes place at the Alumni Gallery, in the Albany History Museum, in Grahamstown.
The festival will run for eleven days, from 30 June 2016 till 10 July 2016.
For more information, you can email the curator, Joan Legalamitlwa, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or the project co-ordinator, Phoebe Phokompe, at email@example.com.
Like the National Arts Festival on Facebook.
You can also visit Lerato Shadi‘s website at lerato-shadi.net.
Want more African Art?
Take a trip to Paris in September to marvel at up and coming African creatives’ work. Read more in The Grand Finalé of Design Network Africa.
Zeenat, a digital intern at ELLE Decoration, is a creative at heart with a passion for weddings, fashion and makeup. She adores blissful moments of solitude spent indulging in a warm cup of Rooibos tea, and red velvet cupcakes.
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