/ 12 April 2024

Your weekly arts and culture diary

4. Reservoir X Mount Nelson Parisb 14 Hr 2 Min
The Mount Nelson’s ‘Mother City’ showcases artwork from Africa and beyond

Apartheid Museum’s temporary exhibition celebrates 30 years of democracy

The Apartheid Museum together with the Ifa Lethu Foundation have put together an exhibition to commemorate works by black artists whose art was not included in galleries during apartheid. 

This is in commemoration of the 30-year milestone of South Africa’s democracy

These artworks, repatriated from 16 countries, serve as a profound testament to life in the townships during the dark era of apartheid. Remarkably, these pieces created by black artists have been preserved and returned to South Africa despite enduring years, or decades, of neglect.

Narissa Ramdhani, director of the Ifa Lethu Foundation, reflects on the journey, stating: “These artists were unacknowledged during apartheid, yet their work attracted thousands of visitors to exhibitions worldwide, shedding light on their talent and resilience.

“Cultural heritage was employed as a weapon by all sides during apartheid — as a weapon of oppression by the state and as a weapon of resistance by the freedom movements. 

“The Foundation has seized the opportunity to employ cultural heritage once more as a weapon, but this time to inform and empower all South Africans.” 

The exhibition of more than 500 works not only showcases historical pieces but also features contemporary South African artists, bridging past and present narratives. 

It is on display at the Apartheid Museum until 31 July.

Filah Lah Lah 

Singer-songwriter Reabetswe Fila Ranamane, known by her stage name Filah Lah Lah, is set to captivate audiences with her upcoming visual album, On Air, slated for release on 19 April. 

Describing her debut album as a “sonic and visual masterpiece”, Filah Lah Lah opens up about the challenges of simultaneously debuting a movie and an album, expressing determination in her journey despite the obstacles.

Named in honour of her grandmother, Filah Lah Lah, who hails from Pretoria, brings a unique blend of R&B with themes ranging from quirkiness and confidence to impostor syndrome and overcoming challenges. 

Reflecting on her experience with dealing with the music industry as a black woman, she says: “The industry requires one to always be navigating through, especially as a black girl because so much of your essence is appreciated but you’re not. 

“I had to be strong and confident in myself to not settle or allow other people’s perception of me to mould me as an artist.” 

Her album delves into the personal but also showcases her lyrical prowess, as is evident in her already-released singles Call Me and Past Myself

Through her music, Filah Lah Lah shines a spotlight on resilience, inspiring ­others to embrace their authenticity and pursue their dreams despite the odds.

Art at the Nellie 

Cape Town institution the Mount Nelson, which is a Belmond Hotel, commemorates its 125th anniversary this year — it does so with the exhibition titled Mother City, showcasing artworks from the esteemed Norval Foundation’s collection. 

Running until October, the exhibition transforms the hotel’s halls and public spaces into a gallery, featuring works by 16 talented ­artists such as Bonolo Kavula, Mia Chaplin, Athi-Patra Ruga, Thania Petersen, Zanele Muholi and Dada Khanyisa.

Beyond Cape Town’s title as the Mother City, the exhibition explores intricate themes tied to a mother’s role as a symbol of care. 

Curated by Heinrich Groenewald and Shona van der Merwe, the collection delves into concepts of community, femininity, ancestry and social icons.

Spanning various media, ­including painting, sculpture and photography, the immersive collection offers a range of perspectives. Louis Norval, the Norval Foundation’s founder, highlights the honour of sharing part of the Homestead Collection with Mount Nelson guests, reinforcing the hotel’s commitment to supporting artistic endeavours.

Mount Nelson’s dedication to fostering creativity is evident through its partnerships with events such as the Investec Cape Town Art Fair and its unique architectural artworks. 

General manager Tiago Sarmento says the hotel’s mission is to provide a welcoming space for art and design appreciation from Africa and beyond.