Nomusa Makhubu : Intertwined 2005-2015

University Museum Stellenbosch, South Africa
10 May 2016 - 30 Jul 2016

Nomusa Makhubu : Intertwined 2005-2015

Nyembezi V
 Colour photograph on Hahnemühle cotton rag paper 
60 x 79cm
 Edition / 10 next available print 4/10

Intertwined 2005 – 2015 is a survey of Makhubu’s practise as a lens based artist. Through the medium of photography she explores issues of identity and particularly the sensitive issue of representation / selfrepresentation.

My photographs are an exploration of my own identity. Having grown up in townships in the Northern part of the country, I lost touch with my cultural traditions. And every attempt to understand this background, turned seemingly fabricated.

Trading Lies series is a response to the Observatory Museum, Grahamstown’s dioramas. These depiction of the lifestyle of an 1820 Settlers family, with a kitchen, bedroom, living room, study and children’s’ playroom are void of any context; which is Xhosa populated Eastern Cape. The inclusion of the self in the diorama is an interruption or contamination of the seemingly quiet settler life exhibited. The museum still exists today, as it did then, albeit as an island of history and a vacuum that keeps settler histories un-contaminated.

Makhubu’s acclaimed series, Self-Portrait Project alludes to the continued alienation and estrangement in an era where the focus is inclined toward self and individual identity as opposed to collective and communal life. One of the canonical meanings that Achille Mbembe (2002: 241) argues can be attributed to slavery and colonialism (as well as Apartheid) is dispossession, a process in which juridical and economic procedures have led to material expropriation. This series has been on exhibition yearly since its launch in 2007. It is included in the upcoming Dak’Art 2004 – 2014 exhibition at Manoir, Martigny in Switzerland which opens in June 2016.

The 2013 series, The Flood received deserved critical attention. It marked a departure in Makhubu’s methodology, shifting from the personal to the public, from the performative to documenting. In 2015 she returned to an earlier practice of weaving two photographs into a unique work. Makhubu won her first award in 2006 with an entry of woven photographs. In the current series, In Living Colour she brings two geographical locations in one pictorial space to question the assumed universality and objectivity of time and place.


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