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Bold, young artists explore gender ambiguity in an audacious exhibition at Galerie Noko

By Liesl Silverman - Jun 15, 2018
Bold, young artists explore gender ambiguity in an audacious exhibition at Galerie Noko

Image: Centre left and right are artists Sisonke Papu and Anovuyo Mali

Seven Nelson Mandela Bay artists explore the constructs of gender in a riveting exhibition at Galerie Noko in Richmond Hill.

The ‘Gender Flux’ exhibition was conceived by Galerie Noko intern Luzuko Nomnganga, who organised the exhibition as part of the Galerie Noko internship programme sponsored by Vansa and CATHSSETA.

Director and owner of Galerie Noko, Usen Obot, said, "We have an internship programme sponsored by Vansa and CATHSSETA, where an intern works with us for one year and must then initiate, coordinate and execute a project, my role is to facilitate the programme and mentor the intern."

Nomnganga conceptualised the ‘Gender Flux’ exhibition and describes the project as a deep exploration of gender normativity and gender identity, where artists re-imagine gender constructs in the contemporary landscape.

The artists engaged with subject matters such as Patriarchy, Feminism and Gender Fluidity.

“The exhibition is interesting, because the artists have drawn inspiration from their own cultural contexts and have translated their ideas of gender in their own way," said Nomnganga.

“In this exhibition the artists attempt to portray a new perspective on gender perceptions and societal boundaries."

The group exhibition showcases fine art, photography and fashion from seven artists- Anovuyo Mali, Pola Maneli, Sisonke Papu, Sibahle Sasha Ngcobo, Leihandri Nel, Justin Stockenstroom and Luzuko Nomnganga.

Anuvuyo Mali, a second year student at Nelson Mandela University, describes her photographic work is an exploration of sexuality, homosexuality and heterosexuality.

“I wanted to explore the idea of whether sexuality is shaped by nurture or nature. The red string that ties the homosexual and heterosexual couples together is a symbol of how our masculine and feminine sexuality is intertwined,” said Mali.

Surface designer and mix media artist, Liehandri Nel, uses fashion, textiles and painting to explore gender fluidity.

“My work represents literal feminine, masculine and androgynous figures, by not depicting the genitalia, it is up to the viewer to interpret what they see, do they choose to see the figures as masculine or feminine?” said Nel.

Poet and artist, Sisonke Papu’s cinematique photograph series titled Isitixo Sezulu depicts three black women each holding a black cows head, accompanied by symbols of a door and mirror.

“The series represents a doorway to opening the infinite pathways that exist within ourselves and explores how we choose with time to go through them. The cow’s head, the door and the mirror are all portals that have the same symbolic meaning,” said Papu.

The exhibition may be viewed until July 14. For more information contact Galerie Noko at galerienoko.com.