We are proud to announce the online debut of ISIMO (2020), a short film that takes place against the backdrop of Hoerikwaggo, commonly known as Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa. In the film, an ancestral matriarchal figure feels and holds the pain of the living in her womb. She diagnoses the world as we know it as being ill, disconnected from nature and in need of healing.
The work acknowledges that the world has struggled with physical, mental or spiritual wellness before the current pandemic. It also recognises the adverse effects of colonialism that pervades and continues to haunt society. Though the education system has been threatened by the pandemic as schools are closed for months, the younger generation that is the future of the world is watching how we navigate our current state and what we teach them during this time is key in creating a better future.
Through a curriculum of ancient indigenous knowledge that is informed by ideas of the late prophet, sangoma and author Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa, the ancestral matriarch reminds us that even in adversity we need to continue to live. Even through the socio-political adversities located internationally and in Africa, she suggests that the remedy is to filter through the noise and continue to exist in that which is fulfilling.
This film will be available for viewing on the GUS website from 4 to 13 February 2021.
Sethembile Msezane is currently an artist-in-residence at GUS (in partnership with the Mellon Foundation, as well as the Departments of Visual Arts and the English Stellenbosch University). She is a National Institute for Human Social Sciences Award nominee (2020), OkayAfrica 100 women 2018 Honoree. Msezane was a TEDGlobal Speaker in Ausha, Tanzania (2017). She was a TAF & Sylt Emerging Artist Residency Award winner (TASA) (2016). Msezane is the first recipient of the Rising Light award at the Mbokodo Awards (2016). She is a Barclays L’Atelier Top 10 Finalist (2016). She is a Sasol New Signatures Merit Award winner (2015).
Using interdisciplinary practice encompassing performance, photography, film, sculpture and drawing, Msezane creates commanding works heavy with spiritual and political symbolism. The artist explores issues around spirituality, commemoration and African knowledge systems. She processes her dreams as a medium through a lens of the plurality of existence across space and time, asking questions about the remembrance of ancestry. Part of her work has examined the processes of mythmaking which are used to construct history, calling attention to the absence of the black female body in both the narratives and physical spaces of historical commemoration.