Cape Town (13 April 2018) – On 11 April 2018, the Curatorial Lab at Zeitz Museum of

Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) was official opened by Kees van Baar, Human

Rights Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. A new exhibition by Banele

Khoza was on view to celebrate the opening of the space.


Situated on Level 1 at Zeitz MOCAA, the Curatorial Lab is a multi-disciplinary space for

experimental curatorial practice and research that explores new curatorial

methodologies, subversive curatorial approaches, non-prescriptive practices, and

under-represented topics and issues. The Curatorial Lab initiates lectures, forums, panel

discussions, screenings, performances and houses a library, a workshop/viewing room

and four galleries.


The current focus of the Curatorial Lab is LGBTQI+ issues and rights. It is a dedicated

space in the museum to guarantee that the voices and experiences of this community

are heard. This focus on LGBTQI+ issues and rights is generously supported by the

Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.


The South African Constitution in theory protects the rights of all, including an

individual’s right to sexual choices. Section 9.3 and 9.4 of the Constitution of South Africa

guarantees equality before the law and freedom from discrimination for its people. The

Equality Right is listed first in the Bill of Rights: “The state may not, and no person may,

unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds,

including race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, colour,

sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language and

birth.” But sadly, in practice, we’ve seen gross violations of these human rights towards

the LGBTQI+ community.


It is fundamental that we create awareness for the position and rights of the LGBTQI+

community on the African continent, hence this project being a critical undertaking in the

process of ensuring the visibility and representation of the community in South Africa

through arts and culture. The Curatorial Lab is a safe space where we can look, read,

hear and learn. A place where our eyes can be opened and where our responsibilities to

our fellow humans can be respected.


In only a few months, the Curatorial Lab has already marked its place by exhibiting the

work of artist/activist Zanele Muholi; hosting numerous guided tours focusing on

LGBTQI+ themes; facilitating the inclusion of LGBTQI+ artists and themes in the

museum’s permanent exhibition galleries; hosting commemorative performances on

International Human Rights Day, which also marked the end of 16-Days of Activism

Against Gender-Based Violence; hosting an educational lecture for South African

National Human Rights Day on Constitutional Law and protection against homophobic

abuse, violence and stigma; arranging debates and facilitating workshops with

journalists from across the African continent to encourage fairer and more

representative coverage of LGBTQI+ narratives within the media; opened a

workshop/viewing room for LGBTQI+ themed film and video; and started a young, but

growing collection of publications for a library that is open to the public.


The LGBTQI+ Banele Khoza exhibition forms part of the Curatorial Lab’s ongoing

partnership with the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which

investigates the representation of the LGBTQI+ community in an attempt to preserve

human rights based on the South African constitution and within the context of

homophobia and the current oppression of LGBTQI+ rights in South Africa. This project

strives to promote intercultural understanding of a community who have been excluded

from society’s predominantly hetero-normative culture and discourse, promotes

education through the arts and develops critical thinking about gender and sexuality.

Banele Khoza’s abstract and figurative paintings depict colourful portraits of the male

nude represented through obscure ghostly figures in palettes of mostly pink and blue.

The pigments are combined and blurred together in fervent brushstrokes that appear to

be applied with acute sensitivity and without a sense of inhibition while empty spaces

and pencil sketch marks reveal their compositional form.


This presentation of Khoza’s work has been curated by Sakhisizwe Gcina, AKO

Foundation Assistant Curator of Special Projects, Curatorial Lab, Zeitz MOCAA, who

says: “Romantic and dream-like, Banele Khoza’s portraits allude to fantasies of sensual

desire contrasted with a feeling of vulnerability and incompleteness. Is this fanciful

exploration an attempt to mask the everyday reality of loneliness?”


“Khoza’s paintings compel us to consider the subconscious wishes of the solitary figures

and their imaginative foray into homo-erotic relationships as they are formed and

destroyed. There is an embrace of sexual liberation and disruption of traditional gender

binary constructs through nuanced effeminate depictions.”


Technology and the digital information age came with a promise of forming intimate

bonds between communities and individuals. However, it also offered the convenience

of superficial relationships through fleeting connections made in cyberspace. LGBTQI+

Banele Khoza interrogates how Khoza’s visual language examines the suppression of

complex and diverse expressions of masculinity and men trying to find love from each

other in today’s filtered virtual world.


Kees van Baar, Human Rights Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands shared

his enthusiasm. “It was uplifting to meet with South Africans to see how together we

can promote human rights worldwide.”


“The LGBTQI+ Banele Khoza exhibition is in line with Zeitz MOCAA’s commitment to

intercultural understanding together with the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the

Netherlands’ protection of human rights. The goal of the exhibition is to establish

dialogue and respect for human rights––regardless of gender, creed or sexual

orientation––to create a safe environment for the discussion around similarities and

differences that create a multi-cultural and diverse society,” said Mark Coetzee,

Executive Director and Chief Curator, Zeitz MOCAA. “It is important for the museum to

support young artists from the LGBTQI+ community through the Curatorial Lab as it is

an opportunity to exhibit artists or issues that are often overlooked.”


Exhibition name: LGBTQI+ Banele Khoza

Curator: Sakhisizwe Gcina, AKO Foundation Assistant Curator of Special Projects,

Curatorial Lab, Zeitz MOCAA

Run dates: Thursday 12 April 2018 – Sunday 16 September 2018

Venue: Curatorial Lab, Level 1, Zeitz MOCAA

Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA)

Silo District, South Arm Road, V&A Waterfront

Cape Town, 8002, South Africa



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