2015 FNB JOBURG ART FAIR
11 – 13 September 2015
Cape Town based Khanyisile Mbongwa is an award winning performance and installation artist and curator. She uses movement, poetry, sculpture and collaborative photography to unpack issues around the identity of place, gender and racial politics. Her series of photographs, Strange Fruit (2015) interrogate the legacy of lynching and how black bodies in contemporary culture continue to be institutionally lynched. By putting her body in front of the lens she re- enacts and moves to the words of Billie Holiday’s Strange Fruit.
Uminkelo Oshusuwe (The Burnt Offering) 8 (2014) is one from a series of ten works. Having been brought up surrounded by biblical and religious imagery, religion instinctively became integral to Mbongwa’s practice. However, the Christian religion has historically rejected the black body (the Story of Cush) and doubly so for the black female body. Further to this, in biblical terms, the ritual of ‘offerings’ can also only be performed by men. Yet black women still describe themselves in the image of Christ even if racism and sexism denies them that right. For missionaries, women were key to converting other cultures to ‘civilized’ Christian societies. Uminkelo Oshusuwe (The Burnt Offering) stems from Mbongwa’s fraught relationship with religion and attempts to unpack these dualistic ideologies.
In 2006 Khanyisile Mbongwa was amongst the founding members of Gugulective. She has since exhibited and performed in and around Cape Town and Johannesburg, in Berlin, Spain, Pakistan, Scotland, Hamburg, New York, Switzerland and Sri Lanka. In 2014 she interned at GIPCA under the supervision of Jay Pather, curated the PreLIFE talks and assisted with the general running of Life Art Festival. In 2014 she won the Africa Centre - Artist In Residency Laureate and took up residency at JIWAR in Spain in 2015. Mbongwa was the Special Guest at Liste Art Fair Basel 2015.
As part of Cape Town Art Week, Mbongwa curated a collaborative performance piece titled ‘My Body Is Not An Apology’ with Buhlebezwe Siwani and Thando Doni. In 2013, she curated ‘Demonstrations: Performing Being Black’ at Brundyn+ Gallery, a two part exhibition that focused on photography, installation pieces and performances in township public spaces. In 2012, together with the late Unathi Sigenu, she won the MTN New Contemporary Artist Award. In 2010 she had a solo experimental exhibition at Blank Project Space entitled ‘Ndizakuyivula Ibhayibile’
'Uminkelo Oshusuwe (The Burnt Offering) 8' (2014)
Diasec lightjet digital print
83.7 x 84cm
Edition of 5 + 2AP
'Strange Fruit l' (2015)
Quadriptych Diasec lightjet digital print
21 x 14.8cm
Edition of 5 + 2AP