Dear History: It’s Not Me, It’s You
LKB/G, Hamburg, Germany01 Jul 2017 - 22 Jul 2017
Dear History: It’s Not Me, It’s You is an exhibition about art as a powerful tool for reclaiming South Africa’s complex heritage, historical narratives and aesthetic imagery.
Dear History: It’s Not Me, It’s You presents works from a distinctly female perspective in an attempt to break, both physically and conceptually, from the loveless marriage between colonial past and patriarchal history. Excavating historic events and deeply subjective experiences, the exhibition aims to reinsert the lost chapters, forgotten heroes and unsung heroines of history that were erased by the colonial sneer. The artists Thania Petersen, Buhlebezwe Siwani and Grace Cross will be shown from 01 July – 22 July 2017.
Grace Cross, born 1988 in Harare in Zimbabwe. She lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa.
Grace Cross is a painter who enacts symbols that represent questions about home, about assumed gender roles in the domestic sphere, and about security of space today for the foreign body. She has recently completed her MFA at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
She holds a BAHons in English Literature from the University of Cape Town and a BFA from Michaelis School of Fine Art, where she was co-awarded the Judy Steiner Painting Prize. Cross is part of the international feminist artist collective the Femme Gems, the drawing collective Open Drawer Projects based in South Africa and the Chicago-based greenhouse art ecology project Uptool.
Cross presented a solo body of work at the Johannesburg Art Fair 2016 entitled ‘Cave Canem’ and has participated in many group shows both in South Africa and Chicago. Her works are included in the collections of the Spier Arts Trust and the University of Cape Town among others. She has been awarded grants from the National Arts Council of South Africa and from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Thania Petersen, born 1980 in Cape Town, South Africa. She lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa. Thania Petersen is a multi-disciplinary artist whose discourses focus on photographic ‘self portraits’, installations and multi-sensory based performance. A direct descendant of Tuan Guru (an Indonesian Prince in the late 1700’s brought to South Africa by the Dutch as a political exile), Petersen explores the universal themes of personal and historical identities by reconstructing herself in varies guises often invoking ‘what remain from our ancestors rituals and history in our lives today’. From an intensely personal perspective as an Indonesian ‘Malay’ woman and mother, Petersen adopts a breath and diversity of theatrical personas – a mythological Queen, a botanical Goddess to various personal reflections of her childhood growing up as a girl in a secular Muslim society. Her reference points include the history of African colonial imperialism, contemporary westernized consumer culture, her deeply personal Cape Malay heritage, and the legend and myths of Sufi Islamic religious ceremonies.
Having studied at Central Saint Martin’s College of Art in London from 2001-2003, Petersen trained in both Zimbabwe (2004) and a year later in South Korea (with renowned Korean ceramist Hwang Yea Sook), she subsequently participated in the South Korean Ceramic Biennale that same year. From 2000-2007 Petersen remained the resident painter of props and costumes for the London based Yaa Asantewa Arts Group at the Notting Hill Gate Carnival, before settling back in Cape Town full time. In 2015 Thania has been featured with Brundyn+ at the Cape Town Art Fair and with the AVA at Johannesburg Art Fair. I AM ROYAL marked her first solo exhibition at the AVA Gallery in August 2015.
Buhlebezwe Siwani, born 1987 in Johannesburg, South Africa. She lives and works in Cape Town.
She was raised in Johannesburg, and due to the nomadic nature of her upbringing she has also lived in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal. Siwani works predominantly in the medium of performance and installation; she includes photographic stills and videos of some performances. She uses the videos and the stills as a stand in for her body which is physically absent from the space.
Siwani completed her BAFA (Hons) at the Wits School of Arts in Johannesburg in 2011 and her MFA at the Michaelis School of Fine Arts in 2015. Her work is included in the Spier Collection.