Times of Eswatini
One Billion Rising partners with Yebo! Art Gallery
MBABANE – In partnership with One Billion Rising and Divine Artists, Yebo! Art Gallery’s 53rd exhibition, ‘Umzabalazo: Feminism and Climate Action’ will be opening on Saturday, July 30 and will run until Saturday, September 24 this year.
The gallery, based in Ezulwini, is open from 9 – 5pm from Monday to Saturday, and entry is free. Featuring artwork from over 40 local artists, the exhibition represents a range of artistic mediums and voices all responding to the various topics related to feminism and the climate crisis. Over the course of two months, Yebo! Art Gallery, One Billion Rising and Divine Artists have worked to engage with a wide range of women in Eswatini.
From commissioning local handcraft groups such as Indzaba Yami and Bavumeleni Bomake, to starting an artist collective of women painters, Yebo! Art Gallery has worked to center the experiences and perspectives of women in Eswatini. ‘Umzabalazo: Feminism and Climate Action’ is the culmination of Yebo’s effort to engage with the local community on these pertinent topics and create a space for dialogue to call emaSwati at all levels of our society to actively think about the position of women locally and globally, and to be conscientious about our fight against climate change.
At its core, this exhibition is an active and engaged collaboration between women in Eswatini’s creative sector. Representing performance art in Eswatini, poet and writer, Dzelisile Mdluli of Divine Artists workshopped with the handcraft group Bavumeleni Bomake on feminist action and the importance of having your voice heard. She has also been working with local Poets and musicians for a video that will be featured in the exhibition. When reached for comment she said, “I’m looking forward to the exhibition opening and to see artists and art lovers come together to share their thoughts on the work and their perspectives on feminism and climate change. As a poet and writer who focus mainly on women’s issues, I’m really grateful for Divine Artists to be part of this project and hope to do more.”
Through active engagements in a variety of rural and urban communities, One Billion Rising has made a huge impact on the lives of many women and girls in the country. When reached for comment
Colani Hlatjwako of the organisation said, “Through art, women and girls can develop the tools to analyse problems in their communities, live and express their voices visually or through performance. This exhibition will hopefully inspire more platforms and spaces that will enable girls and women to express themselves.”
Yebo! Art Gallery curators, Aleta Armstrong and Bulelwa Kunene have been focused on creating a space that is active and engaging for viewers of all ages and backgrounds. Through incorporating video, sculpture, handcraft, posters, a zine publication and a variety of traditional art mediums, the gallery has become a place for information sharing and learning. Co-curator, Kunene has designed and edited a zine, documenting the exhibition and artists involved comments, “I hope that the exhibition will serve as a catalyst for more active and intentional social engagement within our art sector. Art can be a powerful tool for discourse and change about issues and systems that inhibit the growth and development of a society and from engaging with local artists, I am impressed and inspired by their narratives and perspectives.” Armstrong also shared her views and said, ‘‘This is an important exhibition and I hope many people come and see it. GBV and the climate crisis are disasters which need to be addressed by all of us now.”
As this exhibition will also function as a space for learning and discussion, the gallery welcomes and encourages schools to come and see the exhibition while it’s