Lungiswa Gqunta Gathering 5.11.19 #1 2019. Courtesy the artist and WHATIFTHEWORLD

Lungiswa Gqunta: Sleep in Witness

Henry Moore Institute

Sleep in Witness  traces the intangible world of dreams as a space of learning where extraordinary, overlooked and discredited places of knowledge are illuminated. The exhibition includes two new installations,  Zinodaka  2022 and  Ntabamanzi  2022, along with the video  Gathering  2019.

Gqunta examines the enclosures imposed upon African knowledge systems and sees this deprival as a symptom of colonial history and conquest. She positions dreams as a response to this curtailment and a space from which new languages, wisdoms and information for living emerge. The exhibition opens with Zinodaka 2022, an installation that considers the faith and belief systems of Black ancestors as spaces of knowledge and information. Its floor of cracked clay and sand is proof of something living, not necessarily human but something ancient. This landscape, along with glass rocks that appear like water, offer an appeal to consider sources of knowledge that have often disappeared, been cast aside or discredited as non-existent.
One of the cruel legacies of the apartheid regime is the criminalisation of Black aquatic spiritual practices and the curtailment of water-based ways of acquiring knowledge in South Africa. Ntabamanzi 2022 is not a reaction to this brutality, but rather a display of a new consciousness and alterity — a state of being different or other — that exists in spite of this historical wound. Made from barbed wire wrapped in fabric, the installation fills the exhibition’s central gallery like a drawing in space with vast, wave-like forms.
Gathering recalls the domestic act of folding sheets with maternal figures on a Sunday afternoon, an act that is part of Black oral traditions. The video is a contemplation of the moments in-between the motion of one sheet corner as it approaches another; the space where a curious question may be asked or information shared. As a child, the act of folding sheets became a time to access knowledge. Throughout this exhibition, Gqunta is persistent about one thing: ways of knowing.
The texts accompanying this exhibition have been written by Nombuso Mathibela, a cultural worker, educator, writer, sound practitioner and vinyl collector based in Johannesburg.
Friday 8 July - Sunday 30 October 2022

Henry Moore Institute
The Headrow

Visit site

Join our mailing list

Back to top