YOUR BEAUTY IS MY CONCERN is a showcase of images and a publication launch of work created by four female-identifying photographers in response to Dahlia Maubane’s Woza Sisi documentary project. Woza Sisi, developed in 2012, is an ongoing body of work that explores how a group of women street hairstylists negotiate, navigate; and shape complex demarcated trading zones; whilst plying their trade. It looks at how women position themselves; and how they use and negotiate urban spaces. The project for a decade has focused its lens on the physical urban spaces in which the hairdressers live and work. The body of work has opened channels for a conscious and compassionate dialogue between various spaces in and out of hair care. It has made the true realities of what many could call a failed system clearer. Failed in its lack of formalisation, inability to lower barriers to formal entry as well as failure to acknowledge the overrepresentation of women in the informal practice of hair care. The title of the showcase is borrowed from one of the photographer’s artworks and speaks to the many themes explored and engaged during the peer-mentoring sessions that took place in Johannesburg. The photographers were expected to present a working project description of their idea and chosen response and to consider how their narratives connect to, depart or build on Woza Sisi. Themes of anti-blackness, issues of representation, socio-economic impacts of migration, the negotiating of rights to space and motherhood complexities, were explored. As a result, a publication was then produced from the photographer's interpretations.
The contributing photographers are:
Simphiwe Julia Thabede
This project is funded by the National Arts Council (NAC).
INTRODUCING WOZA SISI COLLECTIVE
Woza Sisi Collective is a female-led organization dedicated to increasing visibility and opportunities for Black women lens-based artists. It was inspired by Dahlia Maubane’s
photography project, Woza Sisi (loosely translated means Come Sister), which explores the urban experience of street hairstylists and uncovers the challenges they face in their everyday working conditions.
The collective aims to expand on creating agency and empowering Black women to share insights about their experiences through visual storytelling. We aim to empower women with a space to create their narratives, find ways to build sustainability and promote gender equality through the arts and creative practice.
Woza Sisi Collective’s main objective is to offer an impactful platform to photographers for collaborative creation and sharing through publishing. The collective comprises three creative practitioners who work with photography, design and curatorial practice. They united as a collective to share space, time and thoughts with other creative practitioners to revisit existing narratives and create new ones.
Members of the collective are Dahlia Maubane, Bongiwe Phakathi and Fulufhelo Mobadi
YOUR BEAUTY IS MY CONCERN | 1 Apr - 8 May 2023 | 1 pm - 4 pm | Umhlabathi | 2 Helen Joseph Street (Bus Factory Entrance) | Newtown, Johannesburg