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Bodyland - A Site for Contemplation

Baz Bailey

Curated by Anelisa Mangcu

"Bodyland is a play on humanity’s need for geographical markers [e.g.: XhosaLand, Scotland, Switzerland et al. These are markers that suggest imposed grouping and soulful belonging in relation to the land – its history and ecological wants. It offers the artist, upon establishing [or rejecting] this relationship with the land and to embody this knowledge through artmaking. The body becomes the site [or even sight] for much contemplation." - Athi-Patra Ruga, Director - BODYLAND.

The residency was set up to provide a group of 8 creative young socially engaged residents of the Eastern Cape the opportunity to take their work, in whatever medium, to a new level while engaging with the history, natural resources and body/land politics of the Tyhume Valley. The area was centre stage for the Frontier Wars, Ciskei control, home to the University of Fort Hare and now the Black intellectual renaissance of Lovedale Press in relation to contemporary expression. The 14-day residency took place in late 24 October to 7 November 2020 and challenged the artists to engage artistic possibilities within the Tyhume Valley communities. The selected "Occupants" were immersed in a 12-day high-octane group incubator that began with an overnight excursion and camp exploring the layers of land and heritage embodied in the Tyhume Valley and the broader Amathole area. Upon returning to the residency base at the Hunterstoun Centre in Hogsback, a one-year creative programme under the mentorship of artist Athi-Patra Ruga was initiated. The Occupants were encouraged to meditate with the theme of “Bodyland- a site for contemplation”. The result is a rarely seen peek into the contemporary art scene that is being imagined by the Eastern Cape province. With the vision of curator Anelisa, an invitation to the audience to engage with some of South Africa's new and important voices working parallel to the metro-based ways of reading and consuming art.

Exhibiting Artists

Baz Bailey (1994)

Fundiswa Douw (1994)

Sisonke Papu (1992)

Wezile Harmans (1990)

Yonela Makoba (1993)