A fascinating exhibition by Buhlebezwe Siwani, the winner of the 2021 Young Artist Award for Visual Art, recently opened at the SB Gallery in downtown Johannesburg. IYEZA draws on Siwani’s memories, journey and practice as an initiated traditional healer. Named for the isiXhosa word for (usually plant-derived) medicine, Siwani interrogates the many forms and uses of plants in “traditional medicines, rituals and daily life”.
As a multidisciplinary artist, Siwani works across performance, installation, video, photography, works on paper and sculpture, creating work that is a reflection on the interaction of spirituality, indigenous practices, culture, history and religion.
The life force of the exhibition is the symbiotic relationship to and with plants, their meaning and our history. Through a wide range of materials – including soap, wool, and her own body – Siwani’s work interrogates the patriarchal framing of the black female body and black female experience within a South African context. The exhibition is on show till 8th April 2023.