The NWU Gallery in collaboration with The Blessing Ngobeni Art Prize presents the exhibition “Inserted Bodies”. The exhibition will be available for viewing from 6-28 October 2022 at the NWU Botanical Gardens Gallery.
Inserted bodies is a debut solo exhibition by Boitumelo Motau. Motau is the recipient award winner for The Blessing Ngobeni Art Prize which is aimed at assisting young and emerging visual artists to launch their careers. The Award provided Motau with a twelve-week studio residency at Ellis House in Johannesburg.
Inserted bodies is looking and working closely with the living and inherited history of Johannesburg. “When I speak about history, I am specifically speaking about the stories of the people that migrated to Johannesburg, looking all the way back to the gold rush to black men and women forced to leave their families to work in Johannesburg as miners and domestic workers and in recent years where a diverse group and Africans have migrated to Johannesburg seeking better opportunities,” states Motau.
The body of work traces and draws from the city’s migrant workers history and the ways and forms that this history is carried and continued by the current bodies that live and work in the city. Motau’s interest is in looking at migration as an ever-continual process that occurs across generations and time periods. Motau has found further interests in the persistent return of things and events of the past and the various forms in which they occupy the present. The City metaphorically becomes this body that inhales, exhales, engulfs, embodies regurgitates multiple histories and thus becoming an ever-expanding archive.
Motau has been working with ideas of insertion and collage as a way to engage and respond to dominant and collectively held historical narratives, particularly with images of early migrant work found in the Museum Africa archive and the workers’ museum. He attempts to insert himself within the archive and in the process personalize a shared and inherited collective history.
The exhibition opens at the NWU Gallery on 6 October 2022 and we will have the artist walkabout on the same day of the opening.