This exhibition serves as a presentation part of the completion of Xhanti Zwelendaba’s MFA.
The installation is a visual representation of his research during his time at the University of the Witwatersrand between 2020 to 2022.
The works are a commentary on the impact colonialism, apartheid, and institutionalized racism has and has always had on Black identity. The research investigates earlier forms such as Christianity, missionaries and missionary schools in the 19th century, moving along to later strategies and tactics used under the apartheid regime, and putting the bulk of the research on the impact of television in its role in developing Black identities in a post-apartheid South Africa. With themes dealing with capitalistic ideals of success and the pressures of living in a modern society, we look at “is there a black mode of-being-in-the-world?” – though this question is regarding to differences of ‘being-black-in-the-world’ versus ‘being-white-in-the world’; this work is inspired to not only look at the ways-of-being in a comparison to being-white-in-the-world, but also looking at the disparities between different-types-of-being-black-in-the-world, with emphasis on how these identities have been formed.
The Surreal Landscape is the visual representation of the complexities and tensions surrounding traditions and culture, and the modern day culture of contemporary capitalism and nationalism. This pursuance is largely spurred on by having to balance in-between these cultural paradigms, often simultaneously.