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Women Artists from Eastern and Southern Africa Express Femininity in 'Shapes of Water' Group show

May 27–August 12, 2023 | Afriart Gallery, Kampala, Uganda

Water is essential for life, but it can also be a powerful metaphor for femininity. In the group exhibition Shapes of Water at Afriart Gallery, female artists from Eastern and Southern Africa explore the physical, cultural, and political aspects of water and how they relate to their own expressions of femininity.

Charity Atukunda, Blessed is the Spectrum, Installation View, 2020.

Curated by Lara Buchmann, the exhibition, explores the diverse and fluid expressions of femininity through various media, such as painting, sculpture, photography, video, and installation. Buchmann takes inspiration from the poem "Water Woman" by Rachel Bari, which celebrates the resilience and adaptability of women who can take on any shape and form as they please. The curator uses the element of water as a metaphor or a "lens" to think about the different aspects of femininity in the artists' work. Water, as the source of life and the main constituent of the earth and the human body, is also a subject of politics and control, as well as a symbol of transformation and movement.

Sundays are not rest days I, April Kamunde, 2023, Oil on canvas, 110 x 68 cm | Courtesy of Afriart Gallery

"Over centuries of patriarchy, women have and still are morphing into any shape to sustain themselves – gracefully, fearfully leaning in like a straightened stream, rearing up like a torrential river, carving canyons into history, and at the same time bearing and sustaining life. She is fluid. Femininity is fluid, so this exhibition suggests. Femininity changes its shape as it pleases, disregarding the many voices trying to contain it in an 8-shaped vessel. She might turn into ice, breaking the vessel into pieces. She might rise from the vessel as a cloud and rain down on more fertile ground elsewhere."

The exhibition opened on May 27th, 2023 and will run until August 12th, 2023. Showcasing works by Charity Atukunda (Uganda), Amani Azhari (Sudan), Naseeba Bagalaaliwo (Uganda), Nelsa Guambe (Mozambique), April Kamunde (Kenya), Maliza Kiasuwa (DRC), Charlene Komuntale (Uganda), Kitso Lynn Lelliott (South Africa), Sungi Mlengeya (Tanzania), and Mona Taha (Uganda).

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Women Artists from Eastern and Southern Africa Express Femininity in 'Shapes of Water' Group show

June 21, 2023

Fredrick Favour

2 min read