Being Her(e), continues the conversation started in 2015 with Being and Becoming: Complexities of the African Identity, which focused on raising questions around the layerdness of our identit(ies) and on the urgency of forging new and unorthodox ways of seeing and being African.
Featuring the works of 14 female artists from the African continent and diaspora, Being Her(e) examines the historical and contemporary perceptions of what it means to be a female body in contemporary Africa. The double interplay in the title implies not only a presence denoted through time and place – being here – but also an irrefutable and defiant female presence, which articulates itself as an individual – being her.
Navigating a historiography of the body, which chooses to articulate its presence and impact, Being Her(e) proposes a reflection on the act of myth making in relation to the female body, embodying and performing ‘woman’ and female interiority. It does so, by addressing various themes, including gender, agency, subjectivity, memory, belonging, sexuality, and identity. The exhibition invokes the body as a site and starting point – an intimate and collective space and a site for social and political inscription, where history is contested, and fantasies are played out – as well as time and temporality as they pertain to transitions from girlhood into womanhood on the African continent. Furthermore, we consider notions of (self) representation and what it means to live and leave, memory and personal geographies.
The artwork curated for Being Her(e) examines, confronts, contextualizes, challenges and sometimes defines the historical and contemporary notions of what it means to be a female body in Africa as well as the African diaspora, questioning preconceived ideas about womanhood and femaleness, opening up scope for a wider reflection on the somehow elusive theme of identity and its representation.