WOMEN’S MONTH POST: Nandipha Mntambo - “Praça de Touros" (2008).
Shot in the now abandoned Praça de Touros arena in Maputo where black Mozambicans once fought for the entertainment of the colonial Portuguese, Mntambo rehearses the steps and takes on the persona of a professional bullfighter - a role usually reserved for men.
Where no animal is present, Mntambo dons an animal hide on her back suggesting that in the absence of an actual bull, she is both the fighter and the victim, the hunter and the hunted, both the fear and the feared in a scenario where neither occupant had agency over their being in the ring and the consequence of what lay ahead.
About the cowhide, Nandipha says, “I have used cowhide as a means to subvert expected associations with corporeal presence, femininity, sexuality and vulnerability.”
Nandipha Mntambo was born in Swaziland in 1982 but grew up in Johannesburg. She obtained a Masters in Fine Arts from the Michaelis School of Fine Arts at the University of Cape Town in 2007, and in 2011, she was chosen as the Standard Bank Young Artist for Visual Art .
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