Arts and Culture

The Creative Showcase: Exploring the female gaze by Billie Zangewa

Staff Reporter

A weekly round-up of South Africa's creative community and projects, by Between 10and5.

Billie Zangewa’s intricate tapestries seek to explore the female gaze – that is, how a woman sees herself as beautiful through her own eyes.

Intricate silk tapestries exploring the female gaze by Billie Zangewa
Often set in the urban landscapes of Johannesburg (the city which she has called home for the past 17 years) Billie Zangewa’s intricate tapestries seek to explore the female gaze – that is, how a woman sees herself as beautiful through her own eyes. Specialising in printmaking, Zangewa graduated with a degree in Fine Art from Rhodes University in Grahamstown.

Later, with no access to a print press or a studio space, she needed something that she could do anywhere and this is how her experimentation with textiles began. “When I started the tapestries, they were graphic and simple and gradually they became more detailed. Today I have a deeper understanding of my medium and am able to be more expressive with it.” Ultimately, Billie’s goal as an artist is to communicate “a truth so profound that it resonates beauty”.

Intriguing and emotive artworks by Christiaan 
Working in a variety of mediums, South African-born and Mexico-based Christiaan Conradie likens his artistic process to that of CPR, saying “the moment I feel like I’ve breathed enough life into a piece I leave it to live on its own.” This is most visible in his portraits, which are often presented in various stages of completion; while certain sections are painted in lifelike detail, others are left entirely up to the viewer’s imagination. “I’d always wanted to be an artist,” Christiaan says, “and my decision not to study fine art was a very deliberate one. I figured at the time that I’d have to compromise what I was doing creatively in order to sell work, which is something I’ve never wanted to do. I subsequently realised however, that one doesn’t necessarily have to compromise and secondly, that in order to be the type of artist I wanted to be, I had to entirely give myself over to painting.”

Prufrock Volume 2 is darker, bolder but always charming
Prufrock is a local magazine of writing – short fiction, long non-fiction, poetry – that was started by Helen Sullivan and James King in 2013. A short while ago, Prufrock celebrated their first anniversary and to mark the occasion created a brand new look. For starters, the cover of Volume 2 presents a stark black and white photograph of a monumental urban scene – a dramatic departure from the soft pastels and whimsical illustrations that encased Volume 1. 

Another change is the new masthead design which is now rounded, bold and evocative of local sign-painting. As for editorial highlights, the current issue includes a piece by Rosa Lyster about the uncertainty of being 25, a poem by Genna Gardini that expresses an intense feeling of love, and an experimental piece by Sean O’Toole about the Werdmuller centre.

Run Jose, a biopic directed by Dave Meinert 

Run Jose from Dave Meinert on Vimeo
After being abducted from a marketplace as a child and forced to kill, Jose had a vision in a dream one night and made the radical decision to risk almost certain death to act on it. He shares his remarkable story in a biopic directed by Dave Meinert from MacDuff Films, which aims to foster a dialogue about the effects of war. “I’ve always been amazed how someone who has been exposed to so much violence can be so peaceful,” says Meinert, who wanted to tell Jose’s story as simply as he could. 

Collaborating with filmmaker Michael Cleary to do so, they took an instinctive approach to shooting the footage, which was then edited by Lucian Barnard (who had purposefully been given no brief). “Jose’s story, coupled with his gentle nature and trademark smile, has made us weep many times, and we are privileged that he’d share it with us,” he says. “There’s maybe never been a more relevant time to start sharing stories about the real casualties of war.”

‘The Mundane Goddess’ by Henco J wins Jameson First Shot 2014

Every year Jameson Irish Whiskey and Kevin Spacey’s award-winning Trigger Street Productions hold a search for three talented emerging film writers/directors. The winners are given a ‘first shot’ in the film industry by having their short film produced by Trigger Street whilst directing an A-list actor in the lead role. This year the competition was open to the United States, Russia and South Africa, with the prospect of Uma Thurman starring in the three winning films. 

  • Watch the winning films
    The South African winner was Henco J, whose film The Mundane Goddess follows the story of Hera, Queen of the Gods, who has found herself in a mundane, suburban human existence. “A short film is an art in itself,” Henco says. “To create in-depth characters, which audiences can relate to, and compact an intriguing story within the time is challenging. But it is an exciting challenge.”

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