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When Rain Clouds Gather: Black South African Women Artists, 1940 – 2000 Symposium

14 October @ 10:00 am - 5:00 pm


When Rain Clouds Gather: Black South African Women Artists, 1940 – 2000 Symposium

13, 14 and 15 October 2022

Norval Foundation, Cape Town

Organised by NRF SARChl Chair in African Feminist Imagination at Nelson Mandela University and Hyundai Tate Research Centre: Transnational in collaboration with Norval Foundation.

Convened by Pumla Dineo Gqola, Nontobeko Ntombela and Portia Malatjie.

The writings of art histories have seldom celebrated the contributions of women of colour to its pages. The same is true of South Africa, where the contributions of Black women artists have been historically overlooked and understudied. In this context, the exhibition When Rain Clouds Gather: Black South African Women Artists, 1940 – 2000, curated by Portia Malatjie and Nontobeko Ntombela at Norval Foundation in Cape Town, is a Black Feminist gesture that features works by over 40 Black women modernists whose work has been obscured, undertheorised and marginalised. The exhibition and its accompanying catalogue archive these art histories and celebrate a rich legacy of Black creative output.

This three-day scholarly symposium, which stems from the exhibition, brings together academics, curators and artists to think beyond the collective imaginary and focus on individual contributions by Black woman artists in South Africa. At the same time, the event seeks to highlight various patterns of practice by paying attention to methodology, artistic mediums, and art market trends, in order to reveal the particularities of Black women artists’ stake in South African art history. This investment in reparative reflection will engage the generative and necessary tools to restore Black women’s art histories and assert the power of these artists as political agents and spiritual mediums, critical race theorists and scholars, speculative and conceptual thinkers, Black African futurists and feminists, as well as producers and recipients of pleasurable practice.

Speakers include Dr. Barbara Boswell, Reshma Chhiba, Associate Prof. Sharlene Khan, Associate Prof. Nomusa Makhubu, Dr. Dee Marco, Prof. Nalini Moodley-Diar, Dr. Danai Mupotsa, Ntombenhle Shezi, Dr. Same Mdluli, Aarti Shah, Dr. Avitha Sooful, Greer Valley and Ilze Wolff, with keynote addresses from Bongi Dhlomo and Dr. Betty Govinden.



14 October
10:00 am - 5:00 pm