Arena for Contemporary African, African-American and Caribbean Art

Author: Thuli Gamedze

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African Art and Film Practices: Processes of Colonial Creative Containment

ThuliAfripedia Senegal (film still, Omar Victor Diop) 2014, 28 min 30 Courtesy of Stocktown Films

“Filmmaking arrived in Africa with the intended function of ‘civilising’ the African population. The way that they would do this was through the introduction of western norms and ideals portrayed in film, which was a simultaneous strategy of erasure and dismissal of African existence as this exotic and superstitious experience. The role of film in this sense was a way to render our own stories useless to us.”

Filmmaker Mzonke Maloney in his conversation with art critic Thuli Gamedze
Afripedia: Senegal film still Omar Victor Diop, 2014 (28-min-30-Courtesy-of-Stocktown-Films)

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To Hell with Monuments


As we have seen through multiple 2015 student protests, where many of us were conscientized through mobilizing around the violence of colonial symbolism, a monument is not simply a representation- it gives strength to the static, it validates regime, and affirms its own position in an attempt to prove timelessness. While the monument still stands, so then does the status quo it holds.

Thuli Gamedze challenges colonial and other monuments.
Detail of a site specific work of Lungiswa Gqunta.

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The art world in South Africa observed


Thuli Gamedze – a middle class Black person, as she calls herself – observes the art world in South Africa, specifically in Cape Town, in an attempt to reconcile personal encounters in various art spaces that seem to present multiple tensions between viewer, artist, art object, and gallery structure- due to the latter’s implied neutrality.

Memory  drawing of Sophia Lehulere (2015, chalk on blackboard, 70 x 100cm) of ‘Untitled’ painting by Gladys Mgudlandlu (undated, gouache on paper, 51 x 70cm), part of ‘History Will Break Your Heart’, of Kemang Wa Lehulere, 2015.

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Decolonization as Art Practice


“We can expand art to the extent that when we talk about art, we are speaking of a conscious, creative approach that is in response to images, and through response, creates its own images. Art thinking, art behaving, art conversing, art writing- these are activisms of art production that make use of our innate creativity in decolonizing and re-imagining our space.”

Thuli Gamedze on how art can function within activist spaces.
Statue of Cecil John Rhodes, Copyright photo: SABC.

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