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Curatorial Lab at Zeitz MOCAA looks at LGBTQI+ issues and rights

The LGBTQI+ Banele Khoza exhibition was unveiled as part of the opening of the Curatorial Lab at Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA). The new addition to the Zeitz MOCAA was officially opened by Kees van Baar, the human rights ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
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.”

Banele Khoza -Trying to impress, 2017
Banele Khoza -He was somebody else's, 2017

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.”

Invoking debate - Q&A with Zeitz MOCAA curator Mark Coetzee

The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art has seen well over the estimated amount of visitors stream through its doors since opening this past Heritage Weekend and executive director and chief curator Mark Coetzee predicts that interest and traffic will only increase.

By Ruth Cooper 4 Oct 2017


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