Kemang Wa Lehulere (South Africa) Fueled by a fear of performing (in his words, “I continue to do performance because it scares the shit out of me,”) Kemang Wa Lehulere uses performance, together with a range of media, including murals, painting, and installation, to plumb the troubled history of his native South Africa and the ongoing ramifications of Apartheid. His practice seeks to revisit past moments in an attempt to understand the present. Via numerous media – drawing, sculpture, photography, performance and video – Wa Lehulere addresses the intersections of personal narrative and collective history, its disintegration and partial amnesia. Wangechi Mutu (Kenya) In collages, films, sculptures and installations Wangechi Mutu reflects on sexuality, femininity, ecology, politics, the rhythms and chaos of the world and our often damaging or futile efforts to control it. First recognized for paintings and collages concerned with the myriad forms of violence and misrepresentation visited upon women, especially black women, in the contemporary world, Mutu’s work has often featured writhing female forms. Their skin an eruption of buboes, mutant appendices like gun shafts or machine gears sprouting from the sockets of joints, their bodies half human, half hyena, they offer a glimpse at the perversions of the body and the mind wrought by forces active in the oppression of women. More recently, exploring and subverting cultural preconceptions of the female body and the feminine, in her works Mutu proposes worlds within worlds, populated by powerful hybridized female figures. Her practice has been described as engaging in her own unique form of myth-making, one in which the interweaving of fact with fiction opens up possibilities for another group of symbolic female characterizations, markedly different from those that appear in either classical history or popular culture. Tracey Rose (South Africa) Born in Durban, South Africa and currently residing in Johannesburg, Tracey Rose is an established contemporary multimedia artist and outspoken feminist, best known for her bold performances, video installations, and arresting photographic works. Rose confronts the politics of identity, including sexual, body, racial, and gender issues. Rose’s themes often convey her multicultural ancestry, and the experience of her mixed-race reality in South Africa. She skillfully combines elements of popular culture with sociological theories to evoke powerful depictions of South Africa’s political and social landscape. Rose has held solo exhibitions in South Africa as well as Europe and the United States. William Kentridge (South Africa) Having witnessed first-hand one of the twentieth century’s most contentious struggles—the dissolution of apartheid— Kentridge brings the ambiguity and subtlety of personal experience to public subjects that are most often framed in narrowly defined terms. Using film, drawing, sculpture, animation, and performance, Kentridge transmutes sobering political events into powerful poetic allegories. In a now-signature technique, Kentridge photographs his charcoal drawings and paper collages over time, recording scenes as they evolve. Working without a script or storyboard, he plots out each animated film, preserving every addition and erasure. Aware of myriad ways in which we construct the world by looking, Kentridge uses stereoscopic viewers and creates optical illusions with anamorphic projection, to extend his drawings-in-time into three dimensions. 14 africanphotomagazine ISSUE 6 JUNE 2017 15
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