By Sandile Dudu Saki
The title of Makhanda-born visual artist, Nompumelelo Edith Bukani, is both a point of entry into her body of work, and a declaration: My Name Will be Mine One Day.
Held at RAW (Residence for Artist and Writers) Spot Gallery, the exhibition consists of linoprints, postcards, and beadwork that delve deeper into the lived and mnemonic experiences of this widely exhibited artist.
Over the years, Bukani’s work has appeared in Grastika Sallskape Galleri, Stockholm, Boston University Art Gallery, and the Norval Foundation. This exhibition is co-curated by artists, Binjun Hu and Viwe Madinda.
The artworks are arranged in no particular order. Rather, it follows a progression of wildlife, domesticated animals, and household and lived experiences. Evident in Bukani’s work are themes ranging from generational gaps, social issues, and mendacious relationships, to African folklore and natural disasters.
According to Hu, Bukani’s inspiration is drawn from her memories and dreams. One print, ‘Bird Stolen the Girl’, is an impression of a big ocean jabiru stork lifting a girl wrapped in a white sheet. This is a manifestation of the amaXhosa traditional folklore that warns children not to stray far from home, lest the sea birds steal them.
When probed about where she learnt art, Bukani proudly proclaims “Dakawa [Arts and Crafts].” She says she joined the Art Centre in 1992, and learnt skills like beadwork, sewing and printmaking. This is a must see exhibition for artt-lovers and Festival-goers wanting to buy and support local art.
My Name Will be Mine One Day is on at the RAW Spot Gallery, Rhodes University, from 22 June to 2 July.