This Self Portrait Series is as a continued exploration of the issue of gender based violence within South African society.
Specifically under the umbrella of femicide, this series explores the issues of violence experienced by black female domestic workers within South African spaces.
When it comes to gender based violence rarely does the conversation fully integrate the lived realities and violations experienced by black domestic workers.
Too often does the spotlight skim over black female domestic worker’s humanity as well as the socio-economic violence which forms part of their daily lives.
These women play an important role within South African society and an even greater role within its history.
To explore the violations these women face is to place a mirror on the progress South Africa has made with 25+ years of democracy. The most important aspect of a mirror is that faces which are rarely ever seen are given spaces to exist and lived experiences to be told.
The work documents some of the stories of women who have been violated on many levels, from the sexual to the economic.
All of which are heavy in magnitude, all of which go unaddressed by the greater society. Within the process of this reflection is also a repositioning of these women who form part of thousands of domestic workers whose struggles never leave the trinity of : Race, Class and Gender.
A black Mary is the central figure who guides the exploration of the complexities of these women’s existence, the existence of blackness as a whole, as well as the positioning of black women within South Africa’s history and present day.
Black Mary is the architect of this cathedral. A safe space for blackness to exhale its tribulations, misunderstandings, silencing as well as its untapped glory.
The work repositions these women and the overall perception of black domestic workers, to no longer exist underneath the shadows of South Africans’ noses but to exist within a cathedral of agency, to exist outside the parameters of violence that black womanhood has been long forced to live within.
Check out the exhibition here.
See more of her work here.
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