The Progress of Love
December 2, 2012 – March 17, 2013
Numerous scholars have addressed the ways media, technology, and capitalism have affected Western notions of love over the last few centuries. Little attention, however, has been paid to the impact of these forces on the conception of love in Africa, or even to the subject itself. The Progress of Love explores romantic love, self-love, friendship, familial affect, love of one’s country, and other bonds in and around the continent. Though the exhibition is weighted towards art produced specifically about love in Africa, works that might otherwise be considered more “Western” in orientation are included as well, calling attention to the global exchange through which such concepts develop, and to both the shared and distinct aspects of the experience of love.
Billie Zangewa attended Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa, receiving a BFA in graphics and printmaking in 1995. After graduation, Zangewa moved to Johannesburg, where she continues to reside. She worked in the fashion and advertising industries before devoting her time wholly to art. Drawing upon her understanding of textiles and fashion design, the artist combines text, luscious fabrics, and embroidery techniques to create tapestries that portray vibrant urban landscapes, autobiographical scenes, and portraits. The resulting works refer to both her own experiences and those of women more broadly.
Zangewa was awarded a three-month AIR Antwerpen residency through Res Artis for her work in Dak’Art, Dakar (2006), and was the winner of the Absa L’Atelier Gerard Sekoto Award, South Africa (2004). She also recently completed a residency at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, NY (2009). Her solo exhibitions include Black Line and Stitch by Stitch, Afronova Gallery, Johannesburg (2010, 2008); Hot in the City, Gerard Sekoto Gallery, Johannesburg (2005); and With a Series of Gestures, Alliance Française, Gaborone, Botswana (1997). Her work has been shown in group exhibitions in Africa, Belgium, France, Spain, and the United States, such as En toute innocence: subtilités du corps, Galerie Imane Farès, Paris (2011); Kaddou Diggen, Galerie Le Manège, Dakar (2011); and Vibrant Exposure: Colorful Expression, Amaridian, New York (2008).