The Goethe-Institute presents Isabel Tueumuna Katjavivi’s Unearthing at the Goethe-Institut Gallery Johannesburg, starting on 13 June 2019.
The exhibition explores sites of trauma during the colonial era, and creates a response to commemorate the ancestors. Katjavivi uses the earth – exploring the soil as an entity that retains memory and stands witness. Unearthing is an extension to the artist’s 2018 exhibition They Tried to Bury Us at the Namibian National Art Gallery, which created a scene of remembrance to those killed in the OvaHerero and Nama Genocides in Namibia. Unearthing includes voices of the descendants, and connects the loss of land and the current realities caused by the unresolved resonances of the genocides. Katjavivi uses the invocation by James Baldwin, that “All your buried corpses now begin to speak” as a call for a reckoning with histories left in the land.
Unearthing is part of the multi-part exhibition series IZWE: Plant praxis by Johannesburg curatorial duo MADEYOULOOK, and will run until February 2020.
MADEYOULOOK has been considering some of the broader questions of landedness; our relationships to natural life as a trigger or spark for undoing our assumed episteme, and reimagining from the perspective of everyday life. Consequently IZWE: plant praxis brings together practitioners working across the majority world to consider complex questions around land justice in its many manifestations. The Anthropocene, the commons, South Africa’s role in relation to the rest of the continent, our embracing of the neo-liberal order, and our relationships to solidarity movements across the world, all lie dormant in the soil.
MADEYOULOOK is a Johannesburg based interdisciplinary artist collaborative between Nare Mokgotho and Molemo Moiloa. The works of MADEYOULOOK often reference everyday practice; aspects of ordinary life that find simple solutions to ordinary challenges. Notions of knowledge production and epistemic ownership in the wider sense are also central to our thinking.