Between Land and a Raised Foot
Company: Whatiftheworld Gallery and Ruth Simbao
Curator: Ruth Simbao
Thania Petersen’s exhibition subtly explores the revolutionary and healing potential of walking, as bodies, minds and spirits connect with land. While everyday walking may seem mundane, walking can be profoundly spiritual and politically charged. Soulful walking can ignite memories, arouse ancestors or register revolt.
BETWEEN LAND AND RAISED FOOT features Petersen’s new film, Sawt, which alludes to Gandhi’s Salt March when crowds walked in protest against the colonial salt tax. Linking this march to the Cape Town carnival, Petersen uses walking and the music of the ghoema drum to encourage civil disobedience.
In other works, Petersen quietly yet boldly defies. She subverts tawāf (the counter-clockwise circumambulation around the Ka’ba) by walking clockwise. She steps on the graves of colonialists who forcibly moved her ancestors from Indonesia to South Africa, and she retells history by asserting her royal links to Tuan Guru, an 18th-century Indonesian prince imprisoned on Robben Island.
A new outdoor installation, Ziyarat (Public Art) is on the Monument mountainside. Drawing from Sufi ritual, this installation evokes Uyghur ways of marking ancestral shrines and holy sites.
Thania Petersen was born in Cape Town, but moved to the UK when her father was exiled. She returned to South Africa in 2007. She is a multidisciplinary artist who uses photography, performance and installation to address the complexities of her identity in contemporary South Africa.
Book now for an art walkabout that includes both of Thania Petersen’s Festival works, on 29 June at 10:00, 3 July at 14:00, or 6 July 10:00.
NB: Art walkabout participants/audience will walk with the artist from the Raw Spot Art Gallery, up the mountainside (gravel) pathway through the Ziyarat installation, to the Monument Basement Gallery. Please ensure you are wearing appropriate footwear.