Shapes of Water is a group exhibition presenting works by women artists from Eastern and Southern Africa. The exhibition offers space for individual and genuine expressions of femininity by artists from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, DRC, Sudan, Mozambique, and South Africa. It hopes to instigate conversations and inspire to imagine new possibilities.
Participating Artists: Charity Atukunda (Uganda), Amani Azhari (Sudan), Naseeba Bagalaaliwo (Uganda), Nelsa Guambe (Mozambique), April Kamunde (Kenya), Maliza Kiasuwa (DRC), Charlene Komuntale (Uganda), Kitso Lynn Lelliott (South Africa), Sungi Mlengeya (Tanzania), and Mona Taha (Uganda).
In this exhibition, some of the physical, cultural, and political characteristics and implications of the element water may act as a metaphor or lens through which to think about expressions of femininity in the artists’ work.
Water, in the form of solids, liquids, and gas, is the earth’s and human body’s main constituent and therefore our main source of life. It’s valued, treasured, and at the same time so hard to contain. Humans have always attempted to control water, its flow, and accessibility, and to direct the source of life to irrigate agriculture, save drinking water and keep it from showing up as destructive floods.
Water politics is now a global concern, such as the policing of a woman’s body is being debated in many forms in different cultures around the world. Yet her genuine expression always finds a way to seep through – at times in joy, other times in pain.
Over centuries of patriarchy, women have and still are morphing into any shape to sustain themselves – gracefully, fearfully leaning in like a straightened stream, rearing up like a torrential river, carving canyons into history, and at the same time bearing and sustaining life.
She is fluid. Femininity is fluid, so this exhibition suggests. Femininity changes its shape as it pleases, disregarding the many voices trying to contain it in an 8-shaped vessel. She might turn into ice, breaking the vessel into pieces. She might rise from the vessel as a cloud and rain down on more fertile ground elsewhere.
Curated by Lara Buchmann