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TITLE OF EXHIBITION

The Possibility of a Journey

ARTIST

Manyaku Mashilo

CURATOR

Tammy Langtry



Listen to the Audio Walkabout

Exhibition statement

Writing a black history to land is a tricky and deceptive task. Thinking the Anthropocene is our only history would be just as deceptive. Drawing black journeys through maps is the process of tying dimensions of time.

Contemporary South African artist, Manyaku Mashilo’s work explores complex associations with a journey. Defining the environment in a language of possibility, Mashilo creates an ongoing relationship with topographical patterning and constellations. Tracing a journey of the hand on the page and feet on the ground through gold and silver line on black paper, they measure our perspective and our vision. Devoid of the human figure, they provide signs, gatherings, and notes to the traveller.

Created as a series of triptychs, the works emphasise the process of walking in a fictionalised landscape, in a dream space.

Here, the land is the DNA thread of the dreamworld.

Catalogue
Click on any image to enlarge.

*All artwork prices include VAT and courier cost
**For sales outside South Africa, courier cost are not included in the selling price


“The Anthropocene as a politically infused geology and scientific / popular discourse is just now noticing the extinction it has chosen to continually overlook in the making of its modernity and freedom.” – Kathryn Yusoff (2019), preface xiii. A Billion Black Anthropocenes or None.

Yusoff writes of the Anthropocene as the geologic age of (hu)man which has politicised his land to build from the taking or removing. She writes of the many (a billion to be exact) deaths of black Anthropocenes, ages of black lives and cultures which have been consumed in the extraction of minerals.

Mashilo’s artistic universe challenges this extractionist claim on land by reviving the spirit of the Anthropocene and its potential. They define the earth’s terrain and the possibility of cartography to connect to multiple other organic forms, the ancestral and the spiritual. If Sun Ra’s afrofuturism asks us to explore other worlds to find redefinition and liberation, Mashilo’s cartographies are callings for dream worlds which we experience through our land and ancestors.

Go Sepela Nageng Ya Ditoro I
Ink on textured paper (triptych)
29 x 21 cm (x3)
R 6 000 | Unframed

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Go Sepela Nageng Ya Ditoro II
Ink on textured paper (triptych)
29 x 21 cm (x3)
R 6 000 | Unframed

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“My aim… is to make a narrative that refuses this account of the earth and its subjects as units of economic extraction, while launching a conversation about how political geology might look otherwise. The attachment to writing with and against a social geology is not to ‘humanise’ geology so much as it is to understand how the languages that already reside within it are mobilised as relations of power – and how a different economy of description might give rise to a more exacting understanding of geologic materiality that is less deadly.” Yusoff, K. (2019).

These dreams are not intangible strands of unknown worlds but become new forms of languages which reconstitute our connection to our own humanity. It is a feeling, a mood, and a sense of this universal which drives the image into the viewers mind.

For Mashilo, the titles of her work represent verbs, actions which manifest between worlds. They exert a movement into the work with a spirited connection with those ancestors and figures, both known and unknown, and the making of a home. The topographical forms map and enmesh forming landscapes, layering the land as the origin of a story and the source of a complex question of lineage.

Go Sepela Nageng Ya Ditoro III
Ink on textured paper (triptych)
29 x 21 cm (x3)
R 6 000 | Unframed

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Go Sepela Nageng Ya Ditoro IV
Ink on textured paper (triptych)
29 x 21 cm (x3)
R 6 000 | Unframed

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Go Sepela Nageng Ya Ditoro V
Ink on textured paper (triptych)
29 x 21 cm (x3)
R 6 000 | Unframed

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“A woman is waiting, suspended above the earth in a different gravity.” – Yusoff, K. (2019).

Not held by a definitive form, the lines form and separate, contemplating the movement of time and energy. The multiple forms are thus within and without naming, gendering, or hierarchical forms of description. The clearings open to look closer at the threads of line which read as hills and valleys. The earthly terrains photosynthesise to enlarge and establish their networks.

Artist’s profile

Manyaku Mashilo was born in Limpopo, South Africa in 1991. She currently lives and works in Cape Town. Mashilo is a self-taught multidisciplinary artist who creates mixed media, paper-based drawings and works. Portraits, landscapes, and inspirations from cartography, play an important role in her work.

Mashilo’s works offer a perspective into self-representation, desire, geography, and spirituality. For Mashilo, it is important to visualise black identities and worlds with agency, compassion, and humanity, and create an accurate archive of who we are and how we choose to identify as black bodies today. Mashilo aims to capture intimate settings and use these as a gateway to ponder the complexities of black existence. The abstract environments depict spatial planes and constellations creating a convergence of time, place, and history.

Mashilo has exhibited widely across South Africa including solo exhibitions at Breaking Bread in 2019 and The New Heritage Museum in 2017, both in Cape Town. Group exhibitions include She Impressions at the Project Space in Johannesburg in 2019; Sunday Service at GUS in Stellenbosch, and The Numbers exhibition at Hazard Gallery in Johannesburg in 2018; and La Gravitas at La Provence Gallery in Franshoek in 2017.

In 2020 Mashilo will present her most recent body of work at 99 Loop Gallery in Cape Town, South Africa.

Manyaku Mashilo


Curator’s profile

South African born Tammy Langtry is currently working as a Curatorial Assistant at Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art (MOCAA), Cape Town. Her practice moves across curatorial work, artistic research, and management.

Langtry holds an honours degree in Art History from the University of the Witwatersrand and has since worked on independent curatorial projects engaged in post-colonial urban identities. She is currently working institutionally to pursue the historicization of a contemporary artistic practice from Africa and the diaspora.

Some of the projects Langtry has worked on include: Reflections of the Cape (2014), 21BF (2014), Spatial Relations (2016), States of Grace (2017), FreeSpace (2018), Why Should I Hesitate: Putting Drawings to Work (2019), and Laying Bare: Studio Process at the Museum (2019-2020).

Langtry’s curatorial interest in diversity, hybridity and artistic practice is shaped by personal experience, identity, and heritage. She is interested in curatorial practice as cultural synthesis and the bridges between historicised artistic practices to contemporary necessities.

Tammy Langtry


Sun Ra echoes
‘there are other worlds, they have not told you of’

Mvelo 
By Sibusile Xaba 
Album: Ngiwu Shwabada | Album art: Manyaku Mashilo | ℗ Komos

Sign the exhibition’s visitors book and let the artist know you were here!

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