The exhibition posits a realm in which the female subject is free to explore worlds of her own choosing: real, imagined, symbolic or concrete. Most importantly, the figures and images produce a new understanding of the agency of women in the Global South.
Bharti Kher is based in New Delhi. Her work explores cultural misinterpretations, social codification and hybridity. She has come to be known for the use of the bindi as a central motif in her work, which often explores the link between tradition and modernity and is deeply concerned with the role, experiences and conceptualisations of women in India.
Bharti Kher, Warrior with cloak and shield (2008). © Bharti Kher. Image courtesy the artist. Photo Guillaume Ziccarelli
Nandipha Mntambo lives and works in Johannesburg. Working in photography, sculpture, video and mixed media, she explores the interconnectedness of human and animal, feminine and masculine, and attraction and repulsion. Her work tests and challenges perceived antitheses, while also exploring female experiences in and of the body.
Nandipha Mntambo, What Remains (2019). © Nandipha Mntambo. Image courtesy Stevenson, Johannesburg and Cape Town
Wangechi Mutu lives and works in Nairobi and New York. Her films, sculptures, collages, installations and paintings explore femininity, violence, consumerism and excess, and the intersection of nature and culture, frequently challenging depictions of women and the female body throughout history.
Wangechi Mutu, A Dragon Kiss Always Ends in Ashes (2007). © Wangechi Mutu. Image courtesy the artist and Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels
Shirin Neshat is an Iranian artist based in New York. She works in photography, film and video, on themes such as gender, identity and politics, examining the contrasts between Islam and the West, and the spaces in between.
Shirin Neshat, Soliloquy (1999), film still. © Shirin Neshat. Courtesy the artist and Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels
Berni Searle lives in Cape Town and works in the time-based media of photography, video and film. In her performative narratives, the self is a figure that embodies history, land-memory and place. Often politically and socially engaged, her work also draws on the universal emotions associated with vulnerability, loss and beauty.
Berni Searle, Lament IV (2011). © Berni Searle. Image courtesy the artist