Buhlebezwe Siwani Johannesburg, South Africa, b. 1987

Buhlebezwe Siwani  lives and works in Amsterdam, Netherlands. She is a multimedia artist working in performance, photography, sculpture and installation. She uses art and performance to explore themes as varied as religion, African spirituality, and womanhood, among others. In addition to her independent practice, Siwani is one of the founding members of the influential collective iQhiya, which was formed as an activist response to the lack of exhibition opportunity and underrepresentation of black female artists in the South African art world.

 

Siwani's vocation as an artist is far more than just something she does for fun; it's her way of exploring herself, interrogating the world around her, and interpreting her experience of living as both a creative and a sangoma (traditional healer). Engaging with human journeys in all of their complexities, she uses different types of media to touch on these multiple facets of her consciousness - parts of herself she comfortably acknowledges as inextricable from one another. Based on her background as sangoma, Siwani has also used her artistic practice to delve into religious subjects and the often-perplexing relationship between Christianity and African spirituality.

 

Thematically Siwanis' work interrogates the patriarchal framing of the black female body and black female experience within the South African context. As both an artist and sangoma, Siwani is constantly working within this paradox where, on one hand, her work as iSangoma demands that a lot be concealed, while, as an artist, her practice is concerned with revelation.