“I still haven’t had time or space to process the happenings of the last month. On the 6th of February 2020 we opened the doors of my first solo exhibition titled ‘Kwantlandlolo; Tangerine Prays For Tabula Rasa’, presented by Orms and co-curated by Anelisa Mangcu! It still feels so surreal yet, weeks later it feels like its always been my life. Its actually so strange how smooth my transition has been. I am aware that the smoothness was due to God, my lord and savour Jesus Christ, amaShweme Orms Circle, my family and friends. For that, I am truly grateful.
On the 6th I woke up next to my mother, we spoke about the plan for the day: I had errands to run, shoes to buy and my head to shave. She wanted to finish doing our laundry (God bless her soul). I spent my morning in Cavendish looking for shoes and worry about whether Xola packed the Ruby Roo lipstick I wanted to wear after the performance.
After I was done with all my errands, I came home, packed my stuff and picked up my props and dress. It felt as though the atmosphere around me was curated to keep me calm, my Uber driver was pleasant and everything was moving smoothly, I was running late but everything was happening in perfect timing so I let go of the need to control things I could not control.
We finally got into the space at FORM, and we were met by Gemma and Jason (aka Bad Cop, Good Cop) and we did a beautiful, joyous signing ritual. That is a memory etched in my heart: joy filled the room and for a second there I forgot that in two hours time I’d have to perform something.
After the signing of the artworks, Xola, Tatenda and I had our first dress rehearsal. The scripture of the day on the 6th came from Ecclesiastes 4:12 which read: ‘A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken’. Knowing that my sisters were there for me, standing in the gap as they have been in this whole process really strengthened and blessed me. Also seeing that scripture that morning further affirmed that firstly, that God was with me and secondly that I would surely conquer.
At 5:30 I stepped outside to begin my performance. In the first 10 mins I was thinking about what I was doing, thinking about whether people would come or not, bothered by the wind, wondering if I was boring people’s kids, at the same time wondering if I’m moving slow enough, aware of my nudity but that soon faded the deeper I want into my practice. At 6pm I knocked on the doors and my sisters opened for me, marking the beginning of the procession into ‘Kwantlandlolo’.
We journeyed into the FORM Building which was formerly a church, singing imi’Mangaliso and burning incense. I can’t express my feelings during the performance, simply because I am yet to develop the vocabulary to express how I felt. We ended up in the middle of the room with everyone forming a circle in that room with four walls, the images hung in circles, the people stood in a circle and that shifted the space, we made the space what we needed it to be… made the Orms Circle 😉
As I stood there, I considered addressing everyone but I had no words and maybe I had spoken enough so I asked my mother, who I hadn’t seen throughout the whole residency program and who was really worried about my wellbeing, my spiritual wellbeing above all, to pray. In her prayer she thanked the Lord for being in the space, she also reflected on how things have been between her and I and she welcomed everyone. Her ‘amen’ and the ‘amen’ of everyone around me made it clear that it was done and it was well. So I lit ‘imphepho’ and a candle and proceeding out of the building following my sisters in arms. We walked together but each was within themselves singing praises and glory to the most high and when we reached the top of the stairs where we were changing, tears overwhelmed me, prayer, joy, gratitude, love overwhelmed me. I took a shower and prepared to see everyone and share the joy in my heart. My joy was met with even more joy. I am incredibly grateful to everyone who came to witness my “coming of age story”.
I had intended on thanking people by name for assisting, holding, carrying, loving, feeding, affirming, seeing and the many other things they have done for me but the list got too long and I didn’t want to forget anyone. Thank you so much, this was MY PERFECT EXHIBITION!!”