Nandipha MNTAMBO

Born in Swaziland in 1982, lives and works in South Africa.

My intrigue with cowhide has led me to explore the sport of bullfighting. Ukungenisa is my first foray into performance. In this video I rehearse the steps of a bullfighter in the abandoned Praça de Touros in Maputo, Mozambique, the arena where black Mozambicans once fought for the entertainment of the colonial Portuguese.

There is no bull to confront. I take on the roles of the bull, bullfighter, and audience. The absence of a visible threat makes it difficult to set the fighting and the protecting apart: as confrontation and refuge, masculine and feminine, they are by nature at opposite ends of the spectrum.

Themes of confrontation, protection and refuge play out particularly in relation to inner conflicts and to notions of self-love/hatred. The bronze, Sengifikile, uses my own features as a foundation, but takes on the guise of a bull. Referencing the head-and-shoulder busts of the Renaissance tradition I challenge male and female roles in society and expected associations with femininity, sexuality and vulnerability.

See online : Dak’Art 2008 : Nandipha MNTAMBO

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