The exhibition A call to our heroines opens this week


And She Wore Pants: A Call to Our Heroines is a new exhibition exploring the hope, loss, love and determination of African heroines through a series of new commissions from artists across the African continent and the African Diaspora in Australia.

The exhibition at Arts House at North Melbourne Town Hall features collage works, installations, video art, music and typography. It is based on records from independent publishers, oral histories, government-held archives, and the Internet.

The new works reflect the often forgotten heroines of southern Africa, including Brenda Fassie, Dorothy Masuka, Krotoa, Thenjiwe Lesabe and Queen Lozikeyi.

Curators Roberta Joy Rich and Naomi Velaphi explain that these influential and equivocal African women are often called controversial.

“This project brings together a series of conversations with seven stunning female artists focused on controversial so-called female figures in Southern African history. They serve as entry points for understanding and reimagining the experiences of black women in the past and into the future,” Rich said. and Velaphi.

Featuring a dynamic array of contributors with different practices, the exhibition includes new commissions and premieres by Kirsty Marillier, Rara Zulu, Tariro Mavondo, Nontsikelelo Mutiti, Jabu Nadia Newman, blk banaana and Sethembile Msezane.

Kirsty Marillier is a South African actress and playwright living in Sydney. She presents a video work, Slide into my Displacement, which reaches out to Princess Krotoa – she unpacks what South African women can feel about themselves as well as historical connections to Khoi-San identities.

Rara Zulu is a South African-born, Melbourne-based singer and musician. Inspired by Dorothy Masuka’s song Nolishwa, Rara created Noli, a multi-channel sound installation layered alongside dark electronica and polyrhythmic drum patterns.

Tariro Mavondo is a Melbourne-based performance creator. Her sound installation, Heroines Walk, features hard-hitting lyrics inspired by a line of brave Zimbabwean heroines: Mbuya Nehanda, Thenjiwe Lesabe, Yvonne Vera and Queen Lozikeyi.

Nontsikelelo Mutiti is a Zimbabwean-born visual artist and educator who works in America and Europe. His typographic work, Memeza, will take over the windows of the Maison des Arts. It features a range of gestures by South African activist and musician Brenda Fassie, taken from album covers, posters, music videos and press photographs.

Jabu Nadia Newman is an award-winning photographer and videographer based in South Africa. Her video work, A Bed Time Story, is an ode to Krotoa, a translator who worked with officials during the founding of Cape Colony – it imagines how she would see and exist in today’s world.

South African multidisciplinary artist, blk banaana has created a video collage, As High as the Stars Heretofore Unseen, dedicated to the hidden, but not silent, African women who were active in the struggle against apartheid.

Based in Cape Town, Sethembile Msezane’s work is widely exhibited across South Africa and internationally. His short film, ISIMO, acknowledges the harmful effects of colonialism that permeates and continues to haunt society.

Through a collaborative community workshop led by artist Roberta Joy Rich, eight Melbourne-based African Diaspora women contributed a massive textile print four meters high by six meters wide, inspired by African memorial fabrics and fabrics – it celebrates the strength and identity of Africa. women.

The free public exhibition runs from June 30 to August 6, 2022. or (03) 9322 3720


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