Masters student holds exhibition

Tutani aims to elevate forgotten Xhosa voices

CULTURAL FOCUS: The isiXhosa contemporary ‘Inxili’ is one of the artworks on display at the Zunqondisise: Reclaiming Our Voice exhibition Picture: AMANDA NANO

Auniquely isiXhosa-focused bead-work and visual exhibition curated by Zodwa Tutani, titled Zunqondisise: Reclaiming Our Voice, is underway at the Ann Bryan Art Gallery Coach House until Januay 31.

The Rhodes University masters in fine arts student decided upon an exhibition as part of her finals.

“I want to see how we display and read contemporary art, what the communication is between then and now.

“I wanted to use the voices of these old ladies to talk about contemporary issues in oral form and art through their beadwork,” she said.

She said studying mainly Eurocentric art in her course, her exhibition aimed to look for the “forgotten” isiXhosa voices and elevate them.

The exhibition has a strong focus on storytelling, often done by old women over a cup of tea.

It is inspired by the poetry of Nontsizi Mgqwetho, Nongenile Masithathu Zenani and Simphiwe Dana.

Mgqwetho is considered a female pioneer poet in isiXhosa, with works published regularly in Johannesburg-based publication Umteteli wa Bantu from 1920 to 1929.

The exhibition is a collaboration between Tutani, residents of Nomzamo Old Age Home in iLitha Township outside Berlin and the Gompo Community Art Centre in Duncan Village.

Of the artwork on display is an “Inxili”–a handbag used by women which would usually hold treasures such as sweets for children.

“My great grandmother used to have sweets in hers and it says a lot on how they see us moving forward,” she said.

The current exhibition also incorporates photographs of the hands that made the beadwork, taken by Cikizwa Kentane, who has followed Tutani through her journey.

The exhibition is open from Mon – Friday from 9am – 4pm and there is no entrance fee.

For more information, contact Tutani on 063840-3177 or e-mail zodwatutani@ gmail.com.

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