Photographic Exhibition

New all-women exhibition shows women facing the camera, themselves and the world

By Daily Maverick Staff Writer 14 August 2018

The image Spiritus Mundi (2018) by Vuyi Qubeka is one of the works on display at the exhibition titled 'no ordinary woman' which opens on Friday 17 August in Cape Town.

An all-women photographic exhibition titled no ordinary women, opens in Cape Town on Thursday evening, 16 August, 2018. Seventeen photographers in all, the exhibition is a counterpoint to the colonialist patriarchy and apartheid model of how women have been and continue to be misrepresented. no ordinary women uses art to review our society, reflect on the abuse of women in South Africa and allows women to have a dominant influence over the way they are viewed.

Bibi Aisha (2010): During the shoot I put down my camera and said to Aisha that I could not imagine how it must have felt to be pinned down and violated so brutally, I also commented on what a beautiful woman she was and that with surgery her external beauty would return. I asked her if we could work together to show her inner strength, her inner beauty, her power… the room felt light, as if she got what I was saying. She looked back at the camera and that’s when I took this photograph. PHOTO: JODI BIEBER
Emerge (2017): In the current political and social landscape, standards are shifting as to how we define and present beauty and sexuality, away from the traditionally accepted phrases of photography’s language and the simplistic context of the patriarchal view. In this image there is much that can be said of visually communicated ideas of surface and emergence, but the female gaze is key in transforming what is usually seen as object to subject; in every sense of the terms as they appear in the photographic and social dogmas. As a result of a female gaze, away from rigid depictions that owe more to a historic concept of glamour and body and less to intuition and form, we see a humanity in the sensuality depicted, in its vulnerability and mystery, that owes as much to the authorship of the gaze as it does the setting or the model. PHOTO:  NONCEDO GXEKWA
Freedom (2015): Here’s to freedom. Here’s to peace. Here’s to living without fear. Here’s to changing things quickly and permanently while healing the ancient wounded patterns of both violator and victim. Last week South African women united and marched for the end to the ongoing and horrific Gender Based Violence, changing our current reality with courage, strength and compassion. Enough is enough. Here’s to freedom. Here’s to peace. Here’s to living without fear. For everyone. This photograph of my friend’s daughter, taken at an outdoor festival, represents that vision of respect and safety for all. PHOTO: NICKY NEWMAN
Bessie Head (2018): The man represented in this image is a symbol of patriarchy. I have emphasised this by using the face of Bessie Head, a woman whose novels contain atypical depictions of women of the era in which she wrote… women who didn’t follow the rules society set out for them. The background reflects the setting of her novels: the huts of Botswana. This image is informed by my own experience of being mugged in 2017. It speaks to the fact that I wish I had fought back like the woman depicted in this image; instead of just screaming, also acting. This image is a celebration of the women who have fought back against violence and, by extension, the patriarchy. PHOTO: AMANDA GREEN
Queen (2017): The woman in this photograph is a boss! She has her own mind, she works hard, she is beautiful inside and out. I admire her for the charge she carries and the confidence she has. With my photography I choose to highlight the hard-working women who, though content in life, also have a sense of hope. Those that appreciate freedom and the value of self-love, “you are beautiful no matter what’. I like to capture the essence of people who appreciate the kindness that we have suckled from our mother’s breast (Ubuntu) and the way they persevere through the struggles and challenges to give us a good life. I was raised by a single mother and I have known mostly female role-models. Many of them are people who have left a very positive imprint – as I face the challenges of being a black woman photographer in Africa. PHOTO: BUSISWA MAZWANA.

The No Ordinary Women exhibition opens on Thursday evening  at the  Ph Centre,  49 Maynard Street, Gardens.

This article was amended on Thursday, August 16, 2018 to reflect the correct opening date.


In other news...

July 18 marks Nelson Mandela day. All over the country, South African citizens devote 67 minutes to charitable causes in memory of Madiba. It's a great initiative and one of those few occasions in South Africa where we come together as a nation in pursuit of a common cause. An annual 67 minutes isn't going to cut it though.

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