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Women In Art From Africa & The Diaspora: 'Speaking Back' On View At Cape Town's Goodman Gallery

'Speaking Back,' a new exhibition from South African curator Natasha Becker, is on view through July 4 at the Goodman Gallery in Cape Town.

As Cape Town transitions from autumn to winter, the Goodman Gallery is housing a new exhibition from South African curator Natasha Becker. Tited Speaking Back, the show brings together a multitude of female artists from Africa and the diaspora– including ruby onyinyechi amanze, Ghada Amer, Candice Breitz, Virginia Chihota, Ivy Chemutai Ng’ok, Otobong Nkanga, Nkiru Oparah, Tracey Rose, Adejoke Tugbiyele, Mickalene Thomas, Kara Walker, and Arlene Wandera– whose work “speaks back” to perceptions, attitudes and beliefs that impact on personal and political circumstances.


According to a press release, “Speaking Back seeks to reveal deeply significant dimensions of culture and subjectivity, history and struggle, by bringing women together as diverse artists to find out what each in her artistically signified yet gendered/racial/sexual/cultural singularity is offering to the world, to us all.”

At the May 23rd opening, Nigerian-American artist and LGBT activist Adejoke Tugbiyele performed her Freedom Dance for the very first time. A visceral and defiant work of self-expression and bellowing drumming, the conceptual piece saw Adejoke challenge gender roles and contentions within queer Africa through dress, lighting and sheer force.

Though visitors might no longer be able to see Adejoke’s performance, they can still catch South African artist Tracy Rose’s video installation attempt to disrupt the male-dominated revolutionary space, as well as the New York-based Mickalene Thomas’ intimate documentary exploring her mother as her muse.

Covering the gallery’s walls are the extra-terrestrial, fragmented drawings of Nigerian artist ruby onyinyechi amanze, who uses paper as a medium to remember, layer, hide and reveal aspects of interpersonal stories.

Kenyan artist Arlene Wandera’s I’ve Always Wanted a Dollhouse looks inside the fluid notion of juvenility.

'Speaking Back' is on view through 4 July at the Goodman Gallery in Cape Town.

Adejoke Tugbiyele, Africa Loves Obama, But... (2014). Archival sepia ink on archival acetate. 43 x 35.5cm.

Adejoke Tugbiyele, Anus for Defication (2014). Archival sepia ink on archival acetate. 43 x 35.5cm.

Adejoke Tugbiyele, Bring back the death Penalty (2014). Archival sepia ink on archival acetate. 43 x 35.5cm.

Arlene Wandera, I've Always Wanted a Doll's House (2010).

Arlene Wandera, I've Always Wanted a Doll's House (2010). (Photo: James Muriuki)

Ellen Gallagher, Odalisque (2005). slide projection.

Ghada Amer, Dreaming of Felipe-RFGA, 2010. Embroidery, acrylic and gel medium on canvas. 71.1 x 80cm.

Ivy Chemutai, The Climb (2015). Oil on canvas. 250 x 148 cm.

Kara Walker, Fall Frum Grace, Miss Pipi's Blue Tale, 2011. Video, 17 min, Edition of 5.

Otobong Nkanga, Filtered Memories, 1990—92: Survival, 1990—91, F.G.C. Shagamu, 2010, acrylic on paper, 42 × 29cm.

Virginia Chihota, the root of the flower we do not know (mudzi weruva ratisingazive), 2014. screenprint on paper. 120 x 80cm.

Virginia Chihota, the root of the flower we do not know (mudzi weruva ratisingazive), 2014. screenprint on paper. 120 x 80cm.

ruby onyinechi amanze, Chasing relentlessly after fading things- The Birth of BLACK, audre marries its indigenous self- Shadows validate existence (ada and Twin find ground), (2014). 80 inches/203.2cm (6.66 Feet) x 208 inches/528.32cm (17.33 Feet).

Images courtesy of the Goodman Gallery

Words by Chaze Matakala

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