In this edition of the Conversations We Do Not Have exhibition series, my intention is to highlight voices lost, gained or contained. The Voices of Women (Amazwi) Collection has at its core a collective of women’s voices portrayed through text and embroidery. These narrations reflect the daily experiences that span the multiple discourses and events that shape our minds and our lives; stories that are also reflected upon in the narratives of our popular media. These works speak clearly and in an unconstrained personal manner that are mostly free of deliberate political opinion. They are stories told by women that reflect upon their deepest concerns. We should pay careful attention.
Conversations We Do Not Have - Should we pay careful attention?
19 May 2015 | Coral Bijoux | Essay
A conversation implies input, and the exchange of knowledge.
11 May 2015 | Coral Bijoux | Essay
The Conversations We Do Not Have exhibition series features artwork from the Voices of Women Collection1 of embroidered, appliqued and beaded cloths made by women, and artwork from other private or institutional collections, inviting both serious and lighter discourse. In a South Africa that is so free constitutionally, yet so constrained in its ability to speak openly and with conviction lest it be perceived as ‘un-PC’, the exhibition allows us to speak as we wish. It does not have to be documented, recorded, agreed to, or disagreed over. The topics for discussion are in the mind and experience of you, the viewer, and in the artworks themselves. But an exchange is necessary. Whether to participate and engage in the multiple layers of meaning offered in the selected works, drawing from your own experience, or not – you decide. There is not one answer. The exhibition narrative asks us to consider our own acquiescence in the creation of the society presented through the women’s stories and artworks selected for the exhibition. At first glance, the answers seem obvious. A little closer and we begin to question who is responsible, ultimately, for these reflections on feminine discourse: culturally, socially and throughout our times. Is this, then, a contemporary vision of women’s experience in South Africa? If it is, will it change? Do we want it to change?