Indigo | Passage to Healing

Berman Contemporary recently showcased the collaborative exhibition, Indigo | Passage to Healing, by artists Robyn Denny and Mamela Nyamza.

Indigo is the colour of the purest spirit, the purest love. It runs through our history on the African continent, adorning our bodies even as it stains them so we do not forget

Indigo | Passage to Healing has been termed ‘an archival interrogation, it is a quest, an unexplored journey through painting and performance into history and a narrative exploring colonial-era enslavement and the commercial indigo and fabric trade,’ by curator Beathur Mgoza Baker who continues that ‘Indigo | Passage to Healing is simultaneously a deep form of remembering, and a ritual to begin cleansing and finding collective healing of bodies and memory in the present.’
     Candice Berman says that it is the pairing of the visually provocative canvas works by Robyn Denny with the dynamic performance piece by Mamela Nyamza, an internationally acclaimed performance artist and choreographer, that brings together two compelling female, South African artists in their exploration of the historic dialogue around the indigo trade.

Candice Berman
Robyn Denny and Mamela Nyamza with the Indigo | Passage to Healing exhibition

     This underworld of the indigo trade and its historic significance on women and culture in South Africa. The monumental canvases were seamlessly hung from the exhibition stand at the 2017 Also Known As Africa (AKAA) art fair, which took place in November 2017 in Paris. This was Berman Contemporary’s inaugural international showing with two strong, female, South African artists.
     ‘The work boldly explores memory and history within the context of a contemporary interrogation of de-coloniality in Africa,’ writes Mgoza Baker. ‘It beautifully tracks the history of empire and within that history, the ideological domination and material extraction that defined the oppression of women. Curator Beathur Mgoza Baker says the exhibition recalls the invisibility of women from the Cape right up the West Coast of Africa, through Mali, Benin, Nigeria and Ghana to remember their contribution because there are bodies everywhere – bodies in the gaping holes of our history, littering colonial-era narratives and choking the pages of historical texts that have excluded them, their bodies and names. This work is a beautiful ode to those bodies of African women who quietly enabled vast profits through their enslavement and sweat.’

Candice Berman


Collaborating Artists & Performers:
Mamela Nyamza
Robyn Denny
Costume Design & Installation:
Representing Gallery:
Berman Contemporary
Beathur Mgoza Baker

Images Courtesy Robyn Denny
Photographer Mario Todeschini