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Buhlebezwe Siwani

Artist 25 Buhlebezwe Siwani Performance art

Buhlebezwe Siwani was raised in Johannesburg, due to the nomadic nature of her upbringing she has also lived in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal. Siwani works predominantly in the medium of performance and installations, she includes photographic stills and videos of some performances.

She uses the videos and the stills as a stand in for her body which is physically absent from the space. Buhlebezwe Siwani works as a visual artist in performance, photography, sculpture and installation.

Thematically Siwanis’ work interrogates the patriarchal framing of the black female body and black female experience within the South African context. As an initiated sangoma, Siwani has also used her artistic practice to delve into religious subjects and the often-perplexing relationship between Christianity and African spirituality.

She is a member of the collective IQhiya.

“I think I’d always known,” Siwani explains of her journey to heeding her ancestral calling of ubungoma – the ancient African healing tradition. “It’s definitely influenced my work. I mean, my work is about journeys and the understanding and liminal characterisation of the self. I don’t see myself making work about anything other than it for the time being because it’s so intrinsic in the way we see ourselves as Africans, you know?”

Her performative work and she uses her body and reflects strength. In each of her artworks selected today her persona is active and dynamic. She takes control of her body and the narrative projected. She deals with the themes of women, traditional medicine, culture and history. Each of these are so a apart of South African culture and representation is so important. I really would love to experience her performance as you need to, to truly gauge performance art.


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