We are afraid of seeing a picture of someone naked.
Throughout the Being Her(e): Meditations on African Femininities exhibition I could see ONLY nude images. The works were somewhat of a “nudist beach” for me as I experienced receiving completely stripped down stories of what it means to be female in contemporary Africa. To relay personal stories of struggle, whether related to identity, subjectivity, sexuality or agency, on a private or public platform is both challenging and liberating.
Freedom is, for me, continuously and intentionally letting go of anything which restrains you in order for you to live as you should. In many people, The Naked Image still stirs feelings of condemnation. For them, another’s purest honesty is something which should be buried alive. This sentiment is a great part of the reason why conversations related to blackness or feminism or anything meaningful still lead to unjust conclusions and reparations.
Being Her(e) created an ideal world in the backdrop of what was once a place of injustice and brutality (Constitution Hill). The exhibition was a respite from the things, notions, memories, human laws which aim to enslave. It was the freedom of the naked image.
About Being Her(e): Meditations on African Femininities
The exhibition set to examine “the historical and contemporary understandings of what it means to be a female body in contemporary Africa. It implies not only a presence denoted through Being Here but an unmistakable and defiant female presence which articulates itself as unquestionably Being Her.”
!Kauru presented, Being Her(e): Meditations on African Femininities at Constitution Hill, Johannesburg from May to June 2017. The exclusively all-African, all-female show was curated by Refilwe Nkomo and Thato Mogotsi and mentored by Paula Nascimento and Violet Lynus Nantume. Being Her(e) feature works by 13 artists including The Salooni Project, Zohra Opoku (Ghana), Zanele Muholi (SA), Nandipha Mntambo (SA), Immaculate Mali (Uganda) and Ghada Amer (Egypt).