Female perspectives, bodies, and voices will come to life in an exciting new
exhibition opening next Wednesday at the Menzi Mchunu Gallery in the BAT
Centre on Durban's Victoria Embankment.
Framing Ourselves is an exhibition put together by Mabatho Lesele and
Mandisa Mbali, exploring their perspectives as young South African women.
The exhibition features works in several mediums including oils, acrylics,
woodcut prints, and linoprints.
While working within a common set of ideas and themes each artist brings a
unique perspective to their work, shaped by their personal histories and
Mabatho Lesele, a South African-born African woman who grew up in Apartheid
South Africa, and is particularly interested in celebrating the strength of
female identity despite in the many inequities that exist within society.
Lesele works mainly in woodcut prints.
In exploring the African female identity, Lesele's work often focuses on the
body. African woman have a different posture to the slender European
woman. They are more curvy and round, and it is really interesting to look
at [...]. I explored the female body contours in some of my art works. I
found that I have the freedom to play around with the figures [...]. One can
exaggerate and elongate some of the body parts to accentuate the African
Mandisa Mbali's work is very much a manifestation of the complexities of her
own identity. Born in the United Kingdom to a Black South African father and
white British mother Mbali's work expresses the many contradictions and
challenges she faces as woman of mixed cultural origins in contemporary
South Africa. This can be seen in the abstract manner in which the vividly
depicts the human body
There are many descriptions of myself I could give: an Africa/European; a
South African British person; African/White/Mixed Race/Coloured person; a
young woman. All my paintings are ultimately, in a figurative sense
self-portraits-- I can always tell exactly which period of my life they
Lesele and Mbatho created Framing Ourselves as an artistic dialogue about
the female identity. It is hoped that gallery visitors will engage in this
dialogue -- exploring their own interpretations and reaction to the works,
and relating the ideas to their personal experiences.
Framing Ourselves open Wednesday August 23, 2000 at 6PM and runs till
Friday September 8, 2000 in the Menzi Mchunu Gallery. The gallery is open to
the public Mondays to Sundays from 9am to 5pm (BAT Centre, 45 Maritime
Place, Small Craft Harbour, Durban 4001, Tel: 031 332-0451).
Named after a talented young Durban artist who disappeared under mysterious
circumstances in 1992, the Menzi Mchunu Gallery is committed to showcasing
the best of the talent of KwaZulu Natal and South Africa as a whole.