Lerato Shadi’s ‘Makhuba’ – tra

Lerato Shadi’s ‘Makhuba’ – transcending history through performance

Revington Place in Hoxton, London, is currently being treated to a performance by Johannesburg-born artist Lerato Shadi

Lerato Shadi’s ‘Makhuba’ – tra

hadi is exhibiting her latest work Makhuba — a piece in progress where she speaks to the street by writing out her future for six hours every day, only to erase these words, and create another template and rewrite over the remnants of the previous.

In this piece, Shadi asks: ‘How does one create oneself?’ This provokes an interesting spectrum of expressions for her in particular, as she tries to find ways to discuss being a black woman without objectifying the black female body, as has been so prevalent in history.

Lerato Shadi 2
Photo by the Iniva Gallery

Following a 2013 ROSL Visual Artist Residency at Hospitalfields Arts, this is Shadi’s first exhibition in London. Makhuba – meaning ‘wave’ or ‘paddle’ in her mother tongue Tswana, follows on from her previous work, Seipone, meaning ‘mirror’ which she performed in both Johannesburg and Berlin.

Here she spent three days writing out and erasing her past– creating a connective evolution from one piece to another. Using a repetitive writing process to create a platform which makes the body both visible and invisible, Makhuba asks: ‘Can one project a different future for oneself despite your history?’

In a Q&A at the Iniva Gallery, Shadi spoke openly about her mother’s time during apartheid and how she grew up watching her mother navigate the obstacles of this time with grace and wisdom, which now informs her work. She discusses growing up as black female in South Africa, when there was very little opportunity for aspiring artists to connect and get inspired with barely a gallery or informative library in her local community to develop talent. It is on this struggle that she bases her work, as she attempts to include people that would not normally have access to the opportunity.

Makhuba will be ending on Tuesday 16 December, so be sure to stop by to take a moment to indulge in the beauty of Shadi’s words. Thereafter the exhibition will remain on display until 4 January 2015.