Curated by Teboho Lebakeng
This exhibition explores the complex and multifaceted intersection of storytelling and gender within a South African context.
In many South African cultures, storytelling is vital to the functioning of their indigenous knowledge systems. Traditions, rituals, ways of life and even medicinal practices may be passed on from one generation to the next via storytelling.
Stories are told to children about events that happened in the past and can operate as informal historical depositories where history can continue living. This access to the past can serve as a point of reflection, specifically in relation to our current conversations about gender and our attempt to navigate it in our present day. But equally as important, is how stories can also offer ideas that explore and expand the potential of our alternative future relationships to gender, not just as individuals but also as a country and within our collective identities.
The stories we tell ourselves and the stories we tell each other can help us engage with what is unique and pertinent to our culture and societies. So in a time where the discourse on gender exploration, fluidity and identity can broaden the gap from one generation to another, storytelling can operate as a vehicle to bridge that gap. And as a platform it provides an opportunity to investigate and meditate on our place in the world, by questioning and challenging gender norms and expectations.
This collection of works forms a part of the larger South African contribution to the exhibition that includes artworks from the University of Pretoria, Durban University of Technology, Tshwane University of Technology, University of Johannesburg and Vaal University of Technology as participating institutions. As a result the exhibition is made up of a diverse body of work, both in medium and content and it is representative of broad, multifaceted and even conflicting perspectives on gender matters and storytelling in South Africa.