April 1, 2013 · Leave a Comment
Phola, center, with the girls of the Amazw’Entombi (Voices of the Girls) Writing Club in South Africa.
To me, writing is soulful. It helps me to throw my emotions into paper. It relieves my pain. It also helps show my happiness and life experiences. How wonderful writing is now ever since I started at writing club. I’m starting to love writing. Just keep my hand moving. Writing keeps me thinking. It challenges me. I did know that I had so much so much in my mind that needed to be put down. Sometimes we need a bit of inspiration to get more encouraged. To me, writing is a drum waiting to roll. —Phola, 17 years old | Gugulethu, South Africa
BY KIMBERLY BURGE | GIRLS ISSUE | SPRING, 2013
From their birth—from the names given them—words matter to girls in Gugulethu.
On the first day of our writing club there, I asked each girl to write, with brightly colored markers, her name and its meaning on a nametag. Most of these girls are Xhosa, the second largest ethnic group in South Africa, which claims Nelson Mandela among its numbers. Xhosa parents give their children names with significance attached. When I met each one, I learned the girl-child’s place in her family, what dreams or healing she brought along when she entered the world, what hopes and expectations lie ahead for her.
April 1, 2013 · 1 Comment
Soraya Nulliah. “Child Bride.” 2007. Mixed Media. 16 x 20 in.
Artist Soraya Nulliah is Indian, South African, Canadian, and American—all at once. She is of Indian origin, was born in and grew up in apartheid South Africa, immigrated to Alberta, Canada at twelve years old, and now lives in Colorado, USA with her husband and daughter. Her body of work is centered on portraits of women and girls of color and reflects a life spent existing in-between cultures and criss-crossing geographic boundaries. However, underneath her paintings’ vibrant, rich earth tones, lurks a deeper story. Nulliah endured a girlhood fraught with domestic violence. In both subtle and overt ways, her work is a response to the culture of silence that often plagues women and girls who are victimized by this kind of trauma. Many of Nulliah’s portraits are coupled with bold text that, for example, question, “Who are you nameless, faceless, girl?,” or declare, “her story matters,” and “claim my story.”
Here, Nulliah talks with LeRonn Phillip Brooks about the cultural influences in her work, her commitment to empowering women and girls, and the ways in which being a mother of a little girl has transformed her. —Ed. Read more
February 4, 2011 · 1 Comment
Although sculptor Janet Goldner has spent most of her 35 year long engagement with Africa producing sculptures inspired by Mali, it was her stunning gold necklace exploring the working conditions of gold miners in apartheid South Africa that caught Lowery Stokes Sims’ attention. Sims, the Curator at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, hand-picked the piece for the museum’s ambitious exhibition, the Global Africa Project, which surveys the global influences on African art and vice versa, African art’s influence on the globe. In Ms. Goldner’s creation, black and white photographs of the miners and their families are bordered in ornate gold and hung on an oversized barbed wire-esque necklace. Ms. Goldner spoke with of note about the origin of the 1992 piece, its current place in the exhibit, and its relevance in 2011.
August 14, 2010 · Leave a Comment
Zwelethu Mthethwa, Untitled from “Interiors” series, 2001
By Mohamed Keita
In “Inner Views,” currently on view at The Studio Museum, South African photographer Zwelethu Mthethwa offers an intimate glimpse into the lives of coal and gold miners, brick layers and sugar cane workers in Johannesburg, South Africa.
September 1, 2009 · Leave a Comment
By Mohamed Hassim Keita