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‘Mantariana Mbokodo Musings’ prizes individual expression

Smile Artists Africa, in collaboration with the North-West University (NWU) Gallery celebrates Women’s Month with a showcase of the Mantariana Mbokodo Musings (MMM) Art Exhibition to be held at the Potchefstroom Campus of the NWU from 9 August 2021 – 17 September 2021.

Mantariana Mbokodo Musing

‘Mantariana’ celebrates originality, unique creativity, and individual expression. ‘Mbokodo’ on the other hand lays acclaim to the collective power and strength of women. The exhibition is therefore the perfect marriage of ‘Mantariana Mbokodo’ as a collection and celebration of artistic work from five South African female artists, highlighting their unique craft, and the evolution of art and women in South Africa.

For Women’s Month, we examine the meaning of femininity in the modern South African context. The South African woman has historically shown her strength of character as well as creativity in finding solutions to the challenges of modern living. Women can fashion something beautiful out of any situation and this show pays homage to that, with the exhibition featuring five women artists who use non-traditional media to engage us in conversation.

The artists featured in the show are Lerato Motau (textile fibre), Phumzile Buthelezi (collage and found objects), Mel Madiba (pyrography), Lebohang Motaung (hair) and Nompumelelo Ngoma (drawing and painting).

In the visual arts spaces, South African women are world-leading, and some of these voices have stood on the world’s largest stages. A common thread for this achievement is their confidence and their exceptional ability to fuse traditional and non-traditional media forms of expression in their work.

  • Mel Madiba
  • Phumzile Buthelezi
  • Nompumelelo Tshabalala
  • Lerato Motau
  • Lebohang Motaung

Women’s Day in our country is celebrated on 9 August and commemorates the day when 20 000 women of all races marched to the Union Buildings against the pass laws of the apartheid government and demanded freedom. The demand and fight for freedom is one that unites women of all races and that now finds its expression and voice in the arts. This is perhaps more true and much stronger in South Africa, than in any other part of the world. Apartheid created a uniquely South African woman, and Women’s Day commemorates this quality. Migrant Labour and the Pass Laws separated Black Women from their husbands, which made them very strong physically, as they had to do the manual labour at home, strong mentally in the face of hardship, and financial wizards due to economic deprivation.

The Mantaraina Mbokodo Musing’s exhibition takes this conversation to a new level, combining the story and the setting. The MMM exhibition will feature both an indoor exhibition and an outdoor sculpture theme and take the visitor on a journey through the expressions of femininity, from creation with fire, to found object sculpture, and grand installation. The NWU Botanical gardens are the perfect setting for this dialogue. A beautiful and functional garden featuring medicinal plants, noteworthy rock structures, and natural fauna, with a beautiful exhibition hall in the middle, is the perfect backdrop for an exhibition that seeks to embrace the expression of femininity.

The exhibition will be open to the public in hybrid access, both online and in-person to comply with the country’s Covid-19 protocols.

Find more information and to view the exhibition online, visit the NWU Gallery.

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