Kemang Wa Lehulere explores the relationship between personal and collective histories, and how South Africa's violent past continues to haunt the present. Using found and repurposed materials, chalk, personal memories and texts, his poetic and layered works speak of suppression, unfulfilled dreams and voices that have been silenced or erased from official historiography.
The exhibition Bring Back Lost Love features new sculptural works, installations and drawings. In his works, Wa Lehulere excavate histories, both existing and imaginative, informative and fantastical.
The show’s title is taken from a term that can be seen on posters around the inner-city centers of South Africa. Here, Sangomas – South African traditional healers – offer their services in matters such as “solving money problems”, “help with employment”, “increase virility” to “clearing debt” and “help with luck”. While the title alludes to intimacy between two people, it can also be interpreted as a macro expression of “lost love”, relating to black people who have lost land in South Arica. The notorious Natives Land Act in South Africa saw the systematic expulsion of black south Africans from fertile to arid lands.
Kemang Wa Lehulere
Kemang Wa Lehulere was born in 1984 in Cape Town, South Africa, where he lives and works. He is perceived as one of the most important representatives of a new generation of South African artists who is developing new artistic perspectives and narrative modes, as well as new forms of political action.
In several works he has created a dialogue with the historic legacy of black South African musicians, authors and artists such as Gladys Mgudlandlu, Ernest Mancoba and journalist Nat Nakasa, in order to prevent their work and lives to sink into oblivion.