M.Bassy, Hamburg, Germany
04 Jun 2023 - 01 Jul 2023

Zana 'Ndebele Superhero' Masombuka, ISIZUNGU (HLUBUKA) I (Detail), 2020, photograph (section), Courtesy: Sakhile&Me, Frankfurt a.M.

Zana 'Ndebele Superhero' Masombuka, ISIZUNGU (HLUBUKA) I (Detail), 2020, photograph (section), Courtesy: Sakhile&Me, Frankfurt a.M.

M.Bassy is curating the exhibition WHO ARE WE IF NOT NATURE including video, photographic and installation works by KARIMAH ASHADU, ZANA ‘NDEBELE SUPRHERO’ MASOMBUKA, ZOHRA OPOKU, BUHLEBEZWE SIWANI and CARRIE MAE WEEMS that reflect our holistic interconnectedness with nature and the cosmos from a Black feminist perspective. Poetically as well as investigative-critically they explore the relationship between our natural and physical heritage.

The works by the women artists KARIMAH ASHADU (*1985), ZANA ‘NDEBELE SUPRHERO’ MASOMBUKA (*1995), ZOHRA OPOKU (*1976), BUHLEBEZWE SIWANI (*1987) & CARRIE MAE WEEMS (*1953) point not only to the socioeconomic outcomings of a historically patriarchal and colonial understanding of nature that manifests itself in corporate capitalism and environmental racism, but also to the spiritual and collective implications of Black feminist resistance. Thus, especially in the discourse around sustainability, Black women show up as active subjects for ecological change. Nature is their realm to connect to their own ancestral roots and develop a reciprocal and inclusive understanding of our world.

This Black feminist ecological thought calls for the empowerment of women, marginalized communities, and nature by opposing the persistent (post)colonial and patriarchal hierarchy and envisioning egalitarian and cooperative social and economic systems. The premise here is, that all forms of oppression and exploitation–whether of natural resources or marginalized gender–are intertwined and must be addressed in their totality to enable social change toward a sustainable and inclusive future.

The video, photographic and installation works presented in the exhibition explore the world of ritual practices, indigenous African knowledge and holistic notions of being and healing. Furthermore, they interrogate critically the Western, (post)colonial, capitalist and patriarchal narratives and seek to transcend human and natural exploitation.




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