A FLOOD IN MY HANDS | CURATED BY AYSHA WAJA
01 february – 03 march 2018
Fried Contemporary is proud to present a group exhibition curated by Aysha Waja opening Thursday 01 February from 6pm-8pm.
Dass completed her Diploma in Visual Art at Durban University of Technology in 2016, she has curated and exhibited in group exhibitions in Durban at the KZNSA and The Collective Art Gallery and since the start of her residency shown at the Turbine Art Fair, Jhb Art Fair and Joburg Fringe.
Dass’ interest lies in female identity and gender equality, as well as the problematic relationships women have with their bodies and how it’s affected by the other. Extreme scrutiny is placed upon society’s obsession, lust and angst on the female form. How the natural state can be seen as disgusting. This is what she portrays in her work. She musters women from different walks of life in her production. These interactions are what makes her art come alive. She feels her creations speak more about the woman around her (strangers, friends, family) than they do about her own opinion only. Sel ess and whole, she would like to empower women through her art.
Pather, born in 1987, is yet to understand the formulaic act of an artist biography as anything other than proving you should be liked because someone has previously liked you. She lives and works in Johannesburg as a nger painter and woman. Pather plays with the abstract and is interested in value, rejection and production. Pather has had two solo shows at 99 Loop, Cape Town (2016, 2017).
“I am a soft revolution” – Nayyirah Waheed
Prompted by the words of Nayyirah Waheed, the works consider the female, Indian aesthetic and the implications it has on perceptions of value and power.
Chumisa Ndakisa is a writer and curator based in Johannesburg. Her current interests are related to the research and discussion around Pan-African belief systems and doctrinal politics, understanding the nature of femininity, jazz and the workings of outer space.
My work is fuelled by spiritual experiences as brought on by the mundane and the extra-ordinary. I am by fascinated by people’s reactions to common and unexpected life events and the ways they attach spiritual or religious beliefs to make sense of things. Doctrinal teachings and politics penetrate every aspect of life, there are inescapable conditionings that help and hinder the ways in which we process living. I want to talk about the psychic processes of managing life and livelihood.
A Life Non-Linear is an account of a moon’s cycle as tracked by thoughts, prayers, af rmations and lamentations. It turns its back on the Western-Gregorian ways of observing the passing of time and ignores the divisions between past/ present/future. This work asserts the belief that everything is connected – this is the nature of life and humanity. Sometimes the connections are taut and seem to be breaking, sometimes they hang low and strengthen over time, sometimes they are sturdy and ever reliable; all the same, a connection is a connection.
Fulla is the name of a Barbie-like fashion doll marketed to children of Islamic and Middle-Eastern countries as an alternative to Barbie. Full is known as “A girls dream doll” displaying the ideal dress code and behaviour of a Muslim woman. I aim to show my desire to merge both Fulla and Barbie as on identity. As much as I attempt to combine these two identities I will always be observed as Fulla. Fulla is about my inner chaos as a Muslim woman facing challenges most people take for granted. Muslim school encouraged me to be modest in behaviour as well as my dress code but when returned home I’d play with my Barbie. I am torn between what I should be and what I want to be. Body adornments and embellishments cover each of the prayer mats. I am stripping the prayer mats from its actual function as a sacred object. The prayer mats are being hung on the wall, which glorify the prayer mat and are no longer seen as prayer matts.
They are identified as figures/portraits, showing the binary of the prayer mats and the body adornments. Each body adornment follows the pattern of the prayer mat. Emphasising my attempt to alter the expectations of being a modest Muslim women by westernising these expectations. This action shows the West imposing on me through media but I am also represented as the one imposing on my own religion and challenging this idea of what a modest Muslim woman should be and how they should appear.
Reshma Chhiba is a visual artist and dancer based in Johannesburg. She holds a BAFA (2005) and an MAFA (2013), from the University of the Witwatersrand, and a diploma in Bharatanatyam (2002) from the Institute of Indian Art and Culture (South Africa). She currently serves as Exhibitions Coordinator at The Point of Order, an experimental exhibition space run by the Division of Visual Arts, Wits University. Previously, Chhiba worked at the Visual Identities in Art and Design Research Centre (VIAD), University of Johannesburg (2013 – 2015), and Exhibitions Curator and then Registrar at the Johannesburg Art Gallery (2007 – 2013).
Joint winner of the Wits School of Arts Martienssen Prize 2003, she was selected by the Goethe Institut (2007) to work as an art mediator at Documenta 12, in Kassel, Germany. She has participated in numerous group shows, including Impossible Monsters – Art Extra (2007); Self/Not Self – Brodie Stevenson (2009); Domestic – GoetheonMain (2009), Alterating Conditions: Performing Performance Art in South Africa – GoetheonMain (2011), [Working Title] – Goodman Cape (2012), 21BF – Turbine Hall and Bag Factory (2012), Princess in the veld – KKNK Festival (2015) and others. Her solo exhibitions include Kali – Art Extra (2008) and The Two Talking Yonis – Constitution Hill Women’s Jail, Kalashnikovv Gallery and Room Gallery (2013), in which she collaborated with curator Nontobeko Ntombela. She is also co-founder of Sarvavidya Natyaalaya (SVN), a non-pro t classical Indian dance school specialising in Bharatanatyam in South Africa.
The Talking Yoni was born in 2013 in a former Women’s Jail in Johannesburg, South Africa. Trained in the classical dance of Bharatanatyam and as a visual artist with a keen interest in the secrets of Hindu mythology, her presence and art making aims to disrupt conventional notions of being a woman of Indian ancestry in post-apartheid South Africa.
Through obsessive encounters with the goddess Kali – the unbridled, provocative and ferocious goddess of Time – The Talking Yoni draws on aspects of sexuality and identity as understood through Kali’s embodiment of female defiance and aggression. Her outstretched blood- stained tongue, her vulva, or yoni, her dark volumes of wild hair and her performative defiance to the camera become the core motifs of The Talking Yoni’s language.
Through an exploration of Bharatanatyam mime, threaded penetration into the surface of saris and canvasses and a mixture of non-traditional painting media, including kumkum, turmeric, crushed coal and ash, she draws on the signs and symbols of goddess, destruction and aggression to create female identities of defiance and revolt. She blurs the lines of the mythological/ real, feminine/masculine, Indian/black, performed/painted, and transcendent/ physical.
Her starting point, her maternal grandmother, was a woman who overcame great dif culty in a foreign land, who spoke a foreign tongue, and battled patriarchal systems within the home and the broader South African context, yet all the while embodied the innate strength, beauty and power of the goddess.
The Talking Yoni enters the battleground of negotiating her ‘Indianness’, her femininity, her sexuality, as aspects of her identity, and aims to dismantle conventions of art making, expectations of Indian womanhood and patriarchal systems that are particular to her experience.
Existing in a dimension of patriarchy, boundaries, sites of blackness, tradition and the gendered gazes in relation to family bonds, I strive to inject melancholic fragilities on the overbearing sites of femininity.
Through the use of the traditional straw mat, truthfully referred to as iCantsi, and uid techniques of drawing I continue my ongoing interest in the endurance of the female form. The idea of stretching… elasticity and blueness as a state of being informs this body of work. How much may a material endure before it frays…or breaks? In a similar way, how much can one truly endure before they break? In realising that the honour of a home is a site of rest from the daily pressures of mental violence, I have this to this to say:
“Can’t I disagree, without the fear of punishment?”
A flood in my hands
“A flood in my hands” is an exhibition created through poetry and poetry considered through an exhibition. Inspired by the work of poets Nayyirah Waheed and Seher whose poems are simultaneously tender and raw, embracing the constant crashing of passion, rage, fear and also healing like a river, these poems carry our untold tales and experiences.
The exhibition will be experienced as a series poems through the work of artists Alka Dass, Anastasia Pather, Chumisa Ndasika, Laylaa Jacobs, Reshma Chhiba and Simphiwe Buthelezi.
T H E P O E M S :
There is an
Inside it a rattling:
I can only breathe
I am a soft revolution.
whose hair is bleeding.
– Nayyirah Waheed
Sometimes the night wakes in the
middle of me.
And I can do nothing
Become the moon.
– Nayyirah Waheed
Until you are