The E-quality of Women
23 August - 24 September 2018
Curatorial Brief/ Women Artists:
This year's International Women's Day theme was #PressforProgress. This movement was motivated by global activism pushing to press forward and progress gender parity. Men have also been using the hashtag to show support to women and to reveal their own incidents of abuse too. It is a strong call to motivate and unite friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive. Another movement supporting gender parity is #MeToo Campaign.
The hashtag is in support of all women who have been sexually harassed by someone.
On 9 August 1956, more than 20 000 women from all walks of life united in a mass demonstration to the Union Buildings in Pretoria. They protested against the unjust pass laws enforced on women in South Africa. The women were led by Lilian Ngoyi - a trade unionist and political activist, Helen Joseph, Albertina Sisulu, and Sophia Williams-De Bruyn.
South Africa celebrates Women’s Month in August and showcases the social, cultural, economic and political achievements of women across South Africa. But far from singling out women, the day focuses on unity, equality and advocacy – especially in a world where the differences and injustices between women and men are as great as ever. The Women’s month is a month when women are recognised for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political.
Women’s Month is a tribute not only to the thousands of women who marched on that day in 1956, but also a tribute to the pioneers of the women’s movement in this country, dating back to 1913, when women like Charlotte Maxeke led the way in establishing the ANC Women’s League and encouraging women to engage in the struggle for freedom. Pioneers include Cissy, Jaynab and Amina Gool, who were amongst the leaders of the National Liberation League and the Non-European United Front of the 1930s. We have chosen to present this show largely in solidarity with our Southern neighbour and also in reference to the recent passing of Winnie Mandela and the spotlight her death has directed towards women; their perceived or real qualities and the issues around equality. The viewer can judge the qualities imbued in the works while the artists are invited to present their work from a female or feminine perspective.
The artworks should illuminate unspoken words, emotional states, sufferings and elations. They are presenting topical issues from the Zimbabwean perspective such as cultural suppression, patriarchy, matriarchy, female genital mutilation, physical and emotional abuse, inheritance and economic dependency, inequality, lack of empowerment and social marginalisation. Moreover, positive leadership attributes of breaking glass ceilings, success at multi-tasking; stepping into roles previously preserved for men, and choosing to live life on their own terms will also be explored.
This year marks over 125 years since women first joined in forces, in New Zealand to demand the vote; and as such presents a moment to reflect upon this important achievement. All over the world there is a great deal of engagement on the role, representation and obstacles for women and the National Gallery of Zimbabwe is taking the opportunity to invite artists to create work that speaks on these issues.
The E-quality of Women is about work that comments on the perceived or actual parity of women in all spheres of achievement and activity; while offering an opportunity to reflect on the qualities that constitute women from a variety of perspectives. It will present a layered conversation about who women are, their spheres of freedom and containment and equality. These are interrogated through the work of individual artists.
Image credit: Georgina Maxim Ma Mére II 2018 Mixed media textile 82x77cm
To view the exhibition notice on the National Gallery of Zimbabwe's website please click here
Address: 20 Julius Nyerere Way, Causeway, Harare
Tel: (024) 74666/7 - 724361/2