Sethembile Msezane I Kwasuka Sukela: Re-imagined Bodies of a (South African) 90s Born Woman

Cape Town – 15 Feb to 18 Mar 2017

Gallery MOMO Cape Town is pleased to present Sethembile Msezane’s MFA exhibition from the Michaelis School of Fine Art at UCT, titled Kwasuka Sukela: Re-imagined Bodies of a (South African) 90s Born Woman.

Msezane’s work seeks to map out how the process of commemorative practice informs constructions of history, mythmaking, and ultimately addresses the absence of the black female body in the monumentalisation of public spaces.  By examining past and present representations of black women in South African public and private domains, Msezane focuses on the absence of iconic black women in history and mythology.

Though Msezane is most known for her public performance practice, Kwasuka Sukela: Re-imagined Bodies of a (South African) 90s Born Woman presents sculptural installations that speak to the interplay of public and private domains. Collectively these works narrate resistance and self-assertion in response to dominant ideologies in the public space. Msezane writes, “With an awareness of this history that continues to grip South Africa, there is a paradox in the finery of Victorian furniture and dress, in that it is at once appealing and repulsive in what it stands for ideologically.”  She further explains, “The women I have depicted in my family, encapsulated in colonial furniture, allude to this. While the circumstances of their time dehumanised black women, their portraits reveal full consciousness of their own representation. Through my work I have explored the need to resist domination and assert self-definition, and inversely, I have expressed the need to simply be.”

Sethembile Msezane is currently a Masters in Fine Art scholar at the University of Cape Town (UCT).  Msezane is a TAF & Sylt Emerging Artist Residency Award winner (TASA) (2016). She is the first recipient of the Rising Light award at the 5th edition of the Mbokodo Awards (2016). She is a Barclays L’Atelier Top 10 Finalist (2016) and a Sasol New Signatures Merit Award winner (2015). Msezane was an invited artist at Situate: Art in Festivals (residency) in Hobart Australia (2016). Msezane has performed at the Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Art (2016), at the removal of the John Cecil Rhodes statue at UCT (2015), as well as at the AVA Gallery and the Vrystaat Kunstefees Festival.

Selected group shows include Re[as]sisting Narratives at Framer Framed, Amsterdam (2016), Women’s Work and The Art of Disruptions at the Iziko South African National Gallery (2016), Dance, if you want to enter my country!/ Global Citizen at GoetheOnMain, Johannesburg (2016), Nothing Personal at SMAC Gallery, Cape Town,  #theopening at Greatmore Studios, Cape Town (2016), Translations at Emergent Art Space and Reed college, Portland, Oregon (2015), Anywhere the Wind Blows at Brundyn+ (2014), Camouflage at Circa, Johannesburg (2013), Greatest Hits 2012, If the Halls could Talk at Association of Visual Arts (AVA) in Cape Town (2013).