Sethembile Msezane

Born in KwaZulu-Natal, and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, Sethembile completed her BAFA (2012) and a Masters in Fine Art (2017) at the University of Cape Town (South Africa).

Msezane uses performative practice, photography, sculpture, film and installation to respond to geographical spaces, acknowledging the relationship between history, mythmaking and commemorative practice.

Her work re-dresses the imbalances and misrepresentations of history by focusing on the black, female figure, bringing alternative narratives and ancestries into the public and private sphere. Her art making process provides visibility and allows for self-definition within the context of colonial memory, linked histories and paradoxes.

Msezane’s first solo exhibition, titled;  Kwasuka Sukela- Re-imagined Bodies of A (South African) ’90s Born Women (2017), was held at Gallery MOMO (Cape Town, South Africa). Notable group exhibitions to date include  Dis(colour)ed Margins at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe (2017), Re[as]sisting Narratives  (Framer Framed, Amsterdam: 2016); Women’s Work and The Art of Disruptions‘ (Iziko South African National Gallery: 2016); Dance, if you want to enter my country! Global Citizens  (GoetheOnMain, Johannesburg: 2016), Nothing Personal  (SMAC Gallery, Cape Town: 2016); and Translations  (Emergent Art Space and Reed College, Portland, Oregon: 2015).

Msezane is also part of the artist collective iQhiya. Comprised of black, female artists, iQhiya (an isiXhosa word for the protective cloth women use on their heads when carrying water)  represents the “unshakable power” within the female and the collective. iQhiya was founded in 2016 to engage with ideas of power, gender, and representation through their individual experiences and narratives. The group of women work across the disciplines of performance, installation, photography, sculpture, painting, writing, and video to support and create visibility for the black female voice.

As a performance artist, Msezane performed Excerpts From the Past  at the Iziko South African National Gallery (Cape Town, South Africa: 2016), ICA Live Art Festival (Cape Town, South Africa: 2016), The National Arts Festival (Grahamstown, South Africa: 2016), Arts House (Melbourne, Australia: 2016) and Spielart Festival (Munich, Germany: 2016). The Charter for Any Given Sunday, an initiative by Khanabadosh and the Institute for Contemporary Art Research (2016). Azania – What Will Be Remembered, What Will Be Forgotten? was performed at Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Art (GIPCA: 2016). Msezane also performed at the removal of the Cecil John Rhodes statue at UCT (2015). Preceding that she created the Public Holiday‘ series (2013- 2014). As part of Infecting the City, Msezane performed Ellipsis and FR!KA (2015).