Join assistant curator, Precious Mhone for a curator-led walkabout of the second iteration of the exhibition, Still Here Tomorrow To High Five You Yesterday... The walkabout will unpack the various themes in Chapter two and how the works selected allow for multiple readings of the space.
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Chapter two of the exhibition continues its exploration into notions of progress and utopia, with a focus on politics, history and pertinent global issues as they relate to contemporary African sensibilities. The work of new artists will be shown alongside works from Sue Williamson’s A Few South Africans series, which will be immersively installed in the first week.
Themes such as migration, identity, social justice, and the history of myth-making establish provocative voices in the canon of African Futures. The integration of mediums and artistic practices such as studio photography and multi-disciplinary installations highlight the different ways in which we reflect and reinvent our imagined selves.
Here, the power of liberation movements are entangled with post-colonial narratives. “Some of the artists envisage and stage Marxist, Pan-African utopias, truncated by American CIA intervention. Such narratives touch on the legacies of African revolutionary leaders like Thomas Sankara, Kwame Krumah, and Patrice Lumumba,” says exhibition curator Azu Nwagbogu.
“What is often neglected from such narratives, however, is the impact of communist architecture and education. If we are to understand China’s contemporary and future influence in Africa, we must, therefore, reflect on yesteryear’s communist ideologies.”
The quest for utopia is not only manifest in the dreams of a future African generation. It also tells the story of a European and Soviet dream, who sought in Africa their own ideas of utopia. This is evident through the establishment of education models, political thought, architecture, science, witchcraft, and space travel. We observe in the works of Maurice Mbikayi and Kiluanji Kia Henda how utopian concepts become malleable and corruptible, where long-standing cultural norms are re-cast as dystopian.
Yet again, the artists in this exhibition offer a distinct concept in which time is not linear but where past, present, and future merge. The immersive gallery spaces, with darkened walls, become portals through which visitors can unpack ideas of performance, body politics, and representation. The figures navigate our inherited urban landscapes and monuments, negotiating our national borders. They consider liminal spaces that connect the rituals of the past to the shaping of our futures.