9th of August 2018 marked the opening of MM Art House’s “Thou Art Woman”, a group exhibition by some of South Africa’s rising talents like; Teresa Firmino, Nompumelelo Ngoma, Olwethu De Vos, Kea Seema, Lerato Lodi and Althea Nzima. These women are very talented and it is great seeing them get spaces to show their work to the public and I hope that these kind of gallery platforms can be extended to them beyond women’s month. Their works is hugely centered around women and children except for Lerato Lodi’s photographic work that was about “lefu” or “isifo” . The eye-catching images show men as they are skinning what looks like a goat/sheep and around those images are the tools needed for the process; an axe, knives, a dish for the meat after the whole process is complete. I am not one who has attended a lot of funerals but I can identify and understand Lerato’s work and I love that she chose a different route from her peers. “Lefu”, the works takes us all back to imisebenzi that we have at home and the work and tools that go into slaughtering and the skinning of the domestic animal chosen.
My favourite artist from the exhibition is Nompumelelo Ngoma. Her artwork titled “Emasculate Defeminise” is such an amazing piece of what I perceive as the many roles that women play in society; playing masculine roles because they are no male figures to play those roles and they still need to be mothers and raise kids, also be women in a community that expects them to dress and behave in a certain manner. Nompumelelo’s body of work depicts women as they are, as what they wish to be and as what they could be. It also celebrates the everyday woman as she walks through the path of life.
For me,it was great to see female artists being celebrated and for female artists to truly thrive in any industry, they just need to be given the space to produce work and spaces to showcase their work and they also need an equal and fair art industry.
If you would like to check out the exhibition, Visit MM Art House at 1 Hillcrest Avenue, Craighall Park, Johannesburg