Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Review: ‘Ikhaya Likamoya’ by Sethembiso Zulu — Ties that bind us all

A woman’s face is drenched with baptismal fluid. Her expression is serene; her eyes closed. Another woman holds her peer from behind, a call of fierceness on her lips, fervency in her posture. A child peeks solemnly through the fabric and drapery surrounding him. You can hear the energy in the environment, feel it shimmering against the membranes that contain you. 

Multimedia journalist and healer Sethembiso Zulu leaps into this whirligig of ritual and captures it, in his debut solo show, Ikhaya Likamoya, currently on show at the University of the North West.  

The first work you see offers a glance at a humble shack made of corrugated iron. The sky is dramatically big. A Christian cross is precariously mounted to its roof. But as you look, you realise that this is a sacred space — a place of great potency and intensity, and not one to approach light-heartedly. Going through the body of work, you are swept into the vortex of emotion captured so beautifully and with so much wisdom by this Market Photo Workshop-trained photographer, who hails from Vosloorus.

You do not need to understand the nature of the rituals captured in this astonishingly fine body of work. The women who weep, the men who gyrate, the Bible, the substances. The rituals of mourning and transformation, of initiation and rebirth slip into universality here and — as your eyes flow over the nuances and alongside the blurs in these extraordinarily moving pieces and dynamic, simply brilliant compositions — the environment comes alive and grabs you by your secret essence. 

Yehla Moya Oyingcwele is also a part of the works in Sethembiso Zulu’s debut solo exhibition

It’s interesting to think of this university, tucked away in the small town of Tlokwe, formerly known as Potchefstroom, as being at the forefront of workable online exhibitions through an era thwarted and locked down. Cleanly designed and easily accessible, this exhibition is an important one on several levels. Without the expensive technological doodads that may enable you to virtually walk around a piece or “be” there as you sit at your computer at home, this university gallery doesn’t boast tricks and gimmicks to keep you focused.

Rather, it uses the skills of veteran artist Senzeni Marasela, as curator, to give Zulu’s body of work the direct light and frank attention it warrants. With the changing face of South African arts and paradigm shifts that are happening under our very feet, Zulu’s work embraces that kind of fierce, raw and broken timelessness that encapsulates what it means to be human.  

Ikhaya Likamoya by Sethembiso Zulu is curated by Senzeni Marasela and on show online at the art gallery of North West University, until August 14. 

This article was first published on robynsassenmyview.com

Vote for an informed choice

We’re dropping the paywall this week so that everyone can access all our stories for free, and get the information they need in the run up to the local government elections. For the latest updates and political analysis, sign up to our daily elections newsletter.

If our coverage helps inform your decision, cast your vote for an informed public and join our subscriber community. Right now, a full year’s access is just R510, half the usual cost. Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.

Robyn Sassen
Robyn Sassen
A freelance arts writer since 1998, I fell in love with the theatre as a toddler, proved rubbish as a ballerina: my starring role was as Mrs Pussy in Noddy as a seven-year-old, and earned my stripes as an academic in Fine Arts and Art History, in subsequent years. I write for a range of online and print publications, including the Sunday Times, the Mail & Guardian and artslink.co.za and was formerly the arts editor of the SA Jewish Report, a weekly newspaper with which I was associated for 16 years. This blog promises you new stories every week, be they reviews, profiles, news stories or features.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Latest stories

Sisulu to appeal Umgeni board court ruling

New Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu has already started moves to implement the court order and dissolve Sisulu’s interim board

High court dismisses Zuma’s plea for state prosecutor Billy Downer’s...

Judge Piet Koen set 11 April 2022 as the date for the arms deal trial to commence and if Zuma’s counsel signalled that they may seek leave to appeal, this is highly unlikely to force an umpteenth delay

Drop in registered voters, but will turnout continue to rise?

Voter turnout for local government elections has steadily risen since 2000, but the uptick could be stalled by Covid-19, much like registration has been

Police identify 300 high risk areas during local government elections

Police minister Bheki Cele said they have identified the KZN, Gauteng, Eastern Cape and Western Cape provinces as high risk areas deploying a high contingent of police and SANDF
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×