Michaelis Galleries online film & video exhibition on sight: looking does not mean seeing
curated by Luvuyo Equiano Nyawose
An exhibition of video artwork and short films featuring Kamyar Bineshtarigh, Ayanda Duma, Talya Galasko, Bonolo Kavula, Lebohang Kganye, Akuol de Mabior, Galerekwe Maimane, Mzonke Maloney, Lauren Mulligan, Jabu Nadia Newman, Natalie Paneng and Kgotlelo Bradley Sekiti.
on sight: looking does not mean seeing engages with the visual & structural complexities of sight. The presented video artworks and short films meditate on the political and cultural conditions of seeing and being seen, as well as reflect on how sight shapes the nuances of our collective and cultural memory. In the essay "Black Feminism: The Politics of Articulation," filmmaker Pratibha Parmar argues that "images play a crucial role in defining and controlling the political and social power to which both individuals and marginalized groups have access. The deeply ideological nature of imagery determines not only how other people think about us but how we think about ourselves.” This compilation interrogates the politics of recognition through a myriad of visual articulations.
Fall Into The Sky (2019) is an experimental African feminist documentary about colourism, afrophobia and xenophobia from the perspectives of black women in South Africa, directed by Akuol de Mabior.
In Mokwena, Macquena, Mac Quene (2018), Jabu Nadia Newman looks at questions of coloured identity, specifically how African identities were given up by coloured individuals in order to survive or live in certain areas. Told through the image and voice of her grandmother, Edith MacQuene, Newman traces her family’s history through surname changes, cultural assimilation, and more, resulting in a deeper understanding of personal as well as cultural identity. .
Through the animated short film Pied Pipers Voyage (2014), we are introduced to Lebohang Kganye's personal history and how it straddles generations of her mother’s family. Uprooted and resettled because of the Land Act and other apartheid laws, these stories reflect her family’s journey to find refuge and create temporary homes across the country, thus reverberating the history of dislocation in South Africa.
Visiting gayle (2018) by Lauren Mulligan is a story about gayle, a linguistic practice that began in the 1960s hair salons of Cape Town’s District Six, emerging as a response to the oppressive confines of race, class and sexual categorisation. What started as an exclusive code amongst LGBTQ+ users soon spread through to the broader coloured community and into popular culture. The film explores the socio-political currency of the code and the relationship between language, identity and performance within a particular fraternity (family, friends and acquaintances amongst LGBTQ+ coloured communities in Cape Town).
Kgotlelo Bradley Sekiti’s Existentialism (2020) explores one through-train of thoughts and its inherent multiplicity. Sekiti introduces the viewer to parallel universes that invite constant self-exploration through a split-screen video. This repetition becomes a mantra for manifesting, carried through the world by the intention set.
In her piece, Oodles of Noodles (2020), Natalie Paneng presents the moment: a special girl, birthday party etiquette and space noodle.
In her piece You Must Be Exhausted(2014), Bonolo Kavula reenacts a scene in the film Sarafina! (1992), something she used to do with her childhood friends. Over time, Kavula has rewatched this commemorative piece of work several times with a critical eye, picking out issues that continue to resonate with her personally and historically. In You Must Be Exhausted Kavula repeatedly makes a cup of tea whilst reciting lines from the scene, mimicking the protagonist Sarafina and mocking the ‘madam’. The interest in this particular scene stems from Kavula being mistaken for her white foster-mother’s maid, as well as Julius Malema calling South African politician Lindiwe Mazibuko a ‘tea-girl’.
In Skaap (2019), directed by Mzonke Maloney, ‘a dance of grace, restraint, helplessness and frustration to the point of rage unfolds as we watch a young woman silently buck against her job as a caretaker to an old white man whose fragility illuminates her potential power at the same time as it reaffirms his own. In a moment of rage turned madness, she sinks the old during his bath, submerging him underwater as the full might of her own power descends on her, but no sooner has she realised that power than it is drained from her body and she is left with naught but panic. She quietly settles back into her role as caregiver and their dynamic continues unchanged in a true South African ending’ (Julie Nxadi, 2019).
The collaborative short fashion film Naoserati X Zoe Modiga - Me (2019), directed by Galerekwe Maimane, encapsulates fashion and music in a skillful way. A tender way. A femme way. A slow way. Much like the song it features; its crafted simplicity took the filmmaker, Mainmane, and the fashion designer, Neo, down a few roads. The extrapolation of choice comes in what acclaimed musician Zoë Modiga chooses to wear. Simple and clear. Putting the two together. Fashion and music. Resulting in a meditation on self-care; choice and self-acceptance. A flow. A dance. A cute moment.
In HUSH (2019) by Talya Galasko, a woman encounters someone from her past at a party. The relationship between the two begins to unravel in a chilling portrait of consent, violence and power dynamics in South Africa. HUSH is an independent short film that tackles the subject of gender-based violence in South Africa, a country with one of the highest rates of rape and femicide in the world.
Booked (2017), directed by Ayanda Duma, centres around Julie, an up-and-coming comedian in her late 20s, who also manages the Bibliophilia bookstore. The story opens with an intimate comedy skit at The Armchair Comedy Club. In this piece, Julie is detailing her frustrations concerning modern day dating its underwhelming sex. From the skit, we move into Julie’s day to day life at Bibliophilia, where we meet her best friend, Nandi, her conservative colleague, Yvette, the bookstore lurker (unnamed) and Julie’s secret crush, Byron. This slice-of-life depiction over two days at the bookstore entails lots of banter between the characters, tackling everything from religion and sexuality to social media.
In Pilgrims (2019), Kamyar Bineshtarigh uses found footage of pilgrims attending Hajj in the hot Saudi Arabian landscape alongside menacingly banal footage of penguins huddling for warmth in the cold Antarctic. In both, the arrangement of a group creates a sense of unified formation, in which the integrated singular, or the individual, disappears, demonstrating a sense of solidarity in organised movement.
Wed, 09 Sep 2020 - 08:00 to Fri, 09 Oct 2020 - 20:00