These 2 new billboards in The Highway Notice series curated by Bronwyn Lace are in collaboration with Koleka Putuma, Faith XLVII and African Ginger and complete the series by calling for participation. [BLACK GIRL LIVE] was founded in 2019 by Theatre Practitioner, writer and poet, Koleka Putuma, Manyano Media is a multidisciplinary creative company established to create employment and development opportunities, as well as platforms for independent poets, playwrights, theatre directors, set designers, costume designers, lighting technicians and editors in South Africa who identify as black, queer and woman.
In 2020, Manyano Media created a relief fund to assist a number of black, queer women theatre practitioners and poets with subsistence grants during COVID-19. The relief fund has now been further developed into the [BLACK GIRL LIVE] fellowship. The first three to five years after graduation are the most challenging economically. The fellowship is designed to provide fellows with resources, networks, a platform to launch their career and learn the ropes of the industry whilst being mentored by practising industry professionals.
One of the foundational pillars of the Manyano Media is empowering young professionals in order to facilitate an opportunity that nurtures knowledge sharing, skills development and risk-taking. By creating an environment that encourages exploration, play, knowledge sharing and collaboration as an entry point to storytelling, story-making and business development, we hope to initiate a way of thinking and making that produces an openness and willingness to take risks and occupy spaces and opportunities of leadership.
Currently, Manyano Media has created and is running a three-month mentorship programme where two young professionals between the ages of 18 and 35 are paired with industry experts under the direction of Koleka Putuma.
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Koleka Putuma is a theatre director, playwright, and poet. Putuma is the Founder and Director of Manyano Media, a multidisciplinary creative company that produces and champions the work and stories of black queer artists and queer life. Putuma’s exploration of blackness, womxnhood and history in Collective Amnesia (2017) is fearless and unwavering. Her incendiary poems demand justice, insist on visibility and offer healing. Putuma explodes the idea of authority in various spaces – academia, religion, politics, relationships – to ask what has been learnt and what must be unlearnt. Through grief and memory, pain and joy, sex and self-care, Collective Amnesia is a powerful appraisal, reminder and revelation of all that has been forgotten and ignored, both in South African society, and within ourselves. Her subversive poetry, expresses the attitude towards life of a new generation of South African writers.
Liberty Du, who is widely recognized as Faith XLVII, is a South African Multi-Disciplinary Artist. Her journey into art began on the streets of South Africa in 1979, as a young graffiti writer taking on the name Faith47. In 2006, Liberty began on a nomadic journey which has brought her to create works in 39 countries. Her evolution from street artist to a multi-disciplinary artist has created a fluid yet solid bridge into the contemporary art world. This explorative approach has led her to develop a broad range of artwork. Ranging from immersive new media installations, paintings, hand-sewn wall tapestries to sculptural bronze works investigating hierarchies of power, paintings and various explorations into printmaking. The thread of Liberty’s practice can be traced from abandoned structures, landmark 20 story buildings to museums and galleries all the way through to intimate site-specific installations. One can observe in Liberty’s approach evidence of her own personal quest, which in turn brings to the forefront much larger concerns of universal social and political complexities. Through the use of these various mediums, Liberty finds a unique series of poetic tones that lend their voice to her expression. There is a longing for a deeper connection to nature, and resurrection of the divine feminine. There is too the active investigation and questioning of the human condition, its deviant histories and our own inherent existential search. This all serves to imbue her narratives the ebb and flow between pain and contemplation, imploring us to examine our place in the world.
African Ginger is Seth Pimentel, an illustrator, painter and experimental visual artist. Seth pushes the boundaries of visual art’s conventions by merging traditional and digital work into a hybrid of experimentation. Continuously drawing and developing his style and approach, Seth often creates in order to approach and discuss mental illness, his practice highlights the nuances in his own personal experiences of dealing with mental health, through this he seeks to build visual bridges to others.
Bronwyn Lace is a visual artist. Site specificity, responsiveness and performativity are central to her practice. Lace’s focus is on the collaborative relationships between art and other fields, including the natural sciences, museum practice, philosophy and literature. In Johannesburg, South Africa Lace has developed a combination of an introspective, process led studio practice and a gregarious, collaborative communal practice. On a meta-level her life as an artist has sort to better understand complexity, to embrace nuance and to build interconnectedness. Lace’s fellowship with other fields comes from an understanding that when we meet, react and respond to one another we are both ultimately transformed and form part of an intricate net-like fabric of never-ending activity. In 2013 Lace completed and published a film and book ‘My Room at the Center of the Universe’, related to collaborative community activist projects she co-initiated with her partner Marcus Neustetter in the Northern Cape, South Africa. In 2016 Lace joined William Kentridge in the establishing and animating of the Centre for the Less Good Idea in Johannesburg. Today Lace is a director on the board of the Centre and is living and practising in Vienna, Austria.