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The Warmth of Other Suns: The Melrose Gallery August Performance and Art Programme

Posted on 31 July 2019

The Melrose Gallery presents a series of performance art pieces, a fine art exhibition and workshops that will take place in the gallery throughout the month of August 2019.

Here are some of the highlights of the performance art:


Jessica Foli: 'Divine. Feminine. Warrior'
Thursday 1 August 2019 at 18h00

Photograph by Motlatjo Mabeba

A visual and physical exploration of the female form. An unapologetic celebration of WOMXN, inspired by the historic Queen warriors of Africa represented in Sfiso Ka-Mkame's artwork title 'In Remembrance of the Dahomey Amazons - N'Nonmitton - Our Mothers'.

Ulungile Magubane: 'Mamakhe'
Thursday 1 August 2019 at 19h30

Photograph by Natalie Paneng

There is a discourse in our society that undervalues the work of a woman in building and maintaining generations of fatherless children. It is painful work, often taking place in a domestic setting which is so often the place in which many women live and die. Children carry what we carry. They see what we see. They feel what we feel. This piece is to form part of archival material. Material that suggests that we could use innocent, nurturing spaces of childcare with strength and confidence - that is how we write ourselves (women, and the work that we do at home) into history, even if only with lullabies and images that depict pure, unadulterated, unconditional love between a child and his/her/their mother(s).

This piece is about tenderness. It is a surface level exploration into the power of giving, sustaining and nurturing life in its early stages. Women are an inextricable part of the beginning of a life - motherhood is not an individual or singular embarkment. It takes a village. Motherhood is informed by generations and generations of knowledge that flows through the womb and into the flesh of a child.


Lebogang Mabusela: 'Makoti Dreamz™ presents Old wives gunz'
Thursday 8 August 2019 at 18h00

Image courtesy of the artist

Drawing from this anecdote of a childhood memory, "I was flower girl at a relative's wedding when during the reception while the wedding party was seated and programme had started. Next on the programme was an elderly lady who then used the opportunity to open all the gifts one by one and read them. She opened a gift, - and the thing about wedding gifts is that they are usually domestic objects because they are meant to help the newlyweds build their new "official" home - so the gifts where domestic objects, usually women are subjected to these objects. As she opened the gifts one by one, she would tell the gift is and address the bride on how to use the objects to appease the husband and the in-laws." I have forged a bridal gifts shop that manufactures and sells guns.

This performance is an iteration of my bridal shop Makoti where I will be dealing bridal gifts that give women superpowers and enhance their desires. These guns are a materialisation historic feminist technology acquired from across different times and spaces as mythology, messy and missing stories.

Helena Uambembe: 'My load I Shall Carry'
Thursday 8 August 2019 at 19h00

Image courtesy of the artist

Helena will perform a moving piece which will be followed by a discussion titled 'Performing Womanhood in Times of Trauma' moderated by Refilwe Nkomo.

"I was not sorry when my brother died." - That is the opening line for the iconic novel Nervous conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga. As harsh and cruel it may sound that was some of the realities of the women of the 32 Battalion. When they were fleeing the war and living in Buffalo they had no time or the luxury to properly morn their loved ones. Death and trauma have become normalised.

Artists: Performed by Helena Uambembe. Panel discussion moderated by Refilwe Nkomo


Bongi Bengu and Monique Mrazek: 'Spell of the Sensuous'
Thursday 15 August 2019 at 18h00

Image courtesy of the artists

'We take our inspiration from all women whom we recognise as warriors, heroines, goddesses.... Who through all time continue to sing the songs, sharing their stories, gathered in a circle, 'Under the warmth of the African sun'....

They still, quietly, hold the power of creation, as nurturers, connecting the heavens with Earth.... Intuitive and receptive, embodying the divine feminine principles, qualities and attributes of the original mother, sacred Earth, who forever nourishes and sustains our very existence....

We invite guests to step aside from the ever expanding digital matrix, a reality that isolates us from this direct encounter, filtering the mind and limiting our connection to the natural wonders.... Altering our senses and withdrawing our attention from the sensuous world.

Aiming to restore beauty, harmony and balance.... Through the art of Mandala making as a performance art piece, we will share this language of the senses, prompting an awareness, influencing and transforming, listening and observing, as we reshape perceptions through the expression of Mandala making, evoking the spell of the Earth....

We aim to establish community and a connection by inviting guests to share in the weaving of this story, co-creating a nature inspired Mandala piece with elements gifted from the Earth.


Adejoke Tugiyele and Banzii Mavuso a.k.a Obie Mavuso: 'Musician Shows You'
Thursday 22 August 2019 at 18h00

Image courtesy of the artists

One never knows what a union of two souls might bring. This goes for the individuals themselves, diving courageously into unknown territory yet with an intuitive gut feelings that given clearly articulated visions and open vulnerability, the end results would be truly transformative.

So far, what appears to be reoccurring is the notion of family. As two queer black women exploring this, frequent discussions of our distinct upbringing arise - memories of joy and pain. The things we've lost and what we have gained.

Banzii a.k.a OBie Mavuso will be singing 3 songs from her highly anticipated musical body of work; titled 'Ndizakbonisa' the melodies are reflective, piercing and raw, mostly using ancestral South African musical instruments. She will be singing in her native language isiXhosa

Collaboratively our performance at The Melrose Gallery - a space which also embraces its stable of artists and invited guests as "family" is ideal.

Due to the nature of performance art, space is limited to 70 people per night. Please RSVP on any of the above links or email craig@themelrosegallery.com for more information.

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