Dikotlolo and other belongings in Lerato Lodi’s Morapedi Exhibition
In photographs of our grandmothers, decades before our cries alerted Mother Nature of our arrival, if you look in their eyes you will find us in the corners. It is because our grandmothers exited the womb, entered the Earth and their bodies became entrances to life for our mothers that we have the privilege to be. Science says that our grandmothers’ womb are home to us. She teaches us that when our grandmothers carried our mothers, we were also given a home. We resided in a womb carried in a womb.
And it is because of this fact that we are all indebted to our grandmothers. If your grandmother loved singing, write songs, dance to them, let the world hear her music your voice. And if you were carried by a woman who was a storyteller, narrate, tell us about what lived in her mind. If your grandmother was a prayer warrior and defeated the devil in her war room, get on your knees.
We will tell our children of Lerato Lodi’s Morapedi: One Who Prays. A body of work that explores Lerato Lodi’s relationship with her grandmother and her grandmother’s belongings. We will tell them that the title of the solo exhibition feels like an introduction to the woman she learned from.
We think that her grandmother was the One Who Prays and by praying, birthed others who spend their own Earthly days praying. In other words, we believe that Morapedi is her grandmother. And that it is from this woman who prays that the installations within the body of work come. This is the Woman’s Work series of the exhibition that focuses on Lodi’s late grandmother’s dikotlolo and other belongings.
Our continuation of the story of Dikotlolo tsa Mma Lodi
In our continuation of telling our children about Lodi’s honour of what her grandmother passed down, we will teach them what she has taught us. Lodi has taught us to take care of what belongs to our grandmothers in the manner that they did. If our grandmothers were women who cleansed during their Earthly days, who attended mmereko with dikotlolo tse skoen, we should be those women too. Lodi is taking her grandmother’s belongings and sharing what they mean to her because her grandmother did too. We say this because one does not pass down something without intending for it to be taken care of. Why would one pass down something without instructions or the story of their relationship with it?
For Lodi, dikotlolo offer her a portal to her home.
Her encounters with dikotlolo come from mmereko that took place at her home. Dikotlolo that Lodi has installed in her body of work belonged to her grandmother and have since been passed down to those who come from her. Lodi expresses: ‘the bowls/objects belonged to my late grandmother Thalitha Winnie Lodi. In the setting of ‘mmereko’ (social and/or family gathering), I am fascinated by how this bowl and many other items are inherited/passed down to the woman in one’s family. In its domestic context, the bowls are not just functional but also have a sense of nostalgia to them.’