Eye of the beholder

Zeitz MOCAA ushers in the summer season with two new lens-based exhibitions.
Photographs: Zeitz MOCAA, Mame-Diarra Niang, Sekai Machache.
Photographs: Zeitz MOCAA, Mame-Diarra Niang, Sekai Machache.

Cape Town’s foremost contemporary art destination, and the largest museum of contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora, Zeitz MOCAA recently unveiled two new exhibitions focused on lens-based practices.


Seeker, Seers, Soothsayers is a group show featuring the work of seven artists, while Self as a Forgotten Monument is a solo exhibition.


Curated by Tandazani Dhlakama and curatorial assistant Beata America, Seeker, Seers, Soothsayers explores thematic accounts and experiences connected to the non-physical world – spiritual, psychological, supernatural and abstract – by using the camera lens to expand, project and reflect on how historical narratives are carried through the body and passed on from generation to generation. The title of the exhibition was inspired by the 2007 poem ‘Speaking in Tongues’ by Jamaican author Kei Miller, which ‘points to a human need to engage with worlds one cannot touch while emphasising the limits of language to fully describe the lived experience’.


The seven artists – Gladys Kalichini, Latedjou, Sekai Machache, Nyancho NwaNri, Pamina Sebastiāo, Buhlebezwe Siwani and Helena Uambembe – employed experimental film, immersive installation, performance, sound and narration to depict how ritual, devotion and acts of remembrance can bring restoration and alternative perspectives of the self within the cycle of life.


Self as a Forgotten Monument, curated by senior curator Storm Janse van Rensburg and assistant curator Thato Mogotsi, is self-taught French artist and photographer Mame-Diarra Niang’s first solo museum exhibition. Offering a decade-long survey of the artist’s significant bodies of work, the retrospective spans photography, moving images and immersive audiovisual installations reflecting Niang’s inward-looking process of image-making that actively challenges the conventions of documentary and portraiture photography. ‘I have come to think of the self as a territory made of well-curated memories and erasures – a place where being itself is a forgotten monument, where even the most persistent conception of identity dissolves in front of us,’ says Niang.


Self as a Forgotten Monument runs until 7 July 2024, while Seeker, Seers, Soothsayers runs until 13 October 2024. Learn more about the exhibitions and book tickets here https://zeitzmocaa.museum/.



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