She Bad Bad

An exhibition dedicated to the work of emerging female photographers of colour.

She Bad Bad is a photographic exhibition for emerging black female photographers in South Africa. The title is a celebration of their strength, courage and diversity, coined from the colloquial term “bad bitch”, She Bad Bad describes female photographers whose work re-imagines conceptual works of art through lived experiences.

As part of the Africa 2020 season, Les Rencontres d’Arles and the French Institute (Paris) awarded Fulufhelo Mobadi the first Curatorial Research grant – Africa Projects in 2019 for her project She Bad Bad. This grant included, in addition to the curatorial research, the production and presentation of She Bad Bad at les Rencontres d’Arles in 2020 but due to Covid 2019 the exhibition could not take place. The French Institute (Paris) then asked the French Institute of South Africa – IFAS to present She Bad Bad in Johannesburg. IFAS is partnered with Market Photo Workshop in Johannesburg to organise the exhibition, which will be presented at the Photo Workshop gallery from Saturday until 27 August. SOUTH SOUTH interviewed Mobadi to find out more about her curatorial approach and the podcast connected to the exhibition.

Installation view, She Bad Bad.
Photography by Ngoma Mphahlele.

Mus re officillupta non preri ut oditibere, quaecab orerum remod ut essequis antia
quaeperumqui officiet earum res

SOUTH SOUTH (SS): How would you describe your own practice and overview of your journey within the art world?

Fulufhelo Mobadi (FM): My curatorial practice focuses on the promotion and accessibility for visual artists particularly photographers within contemporary South Africa and the African continent more broadly. As a socially engaged curator, I am motivated by making the unspoken and the hidden visible. I began my journey as a photographer and worked with a lot of arts organizations. I later focused on arts administration which exposed me to curation. My first big curatorial project was working with RMB Turbine Art Fair in 2017 on their Talent Unlocked programme. In the 2 years I worked on the programme I realized that photography, unlike other mediums, was very difficult to sell. I’m currently taking strides to change that.

SS: She Bad Bad exclusively includes the work of young female photographers of colour. What are your thoughts on the significance of this, particularly within the South African arts space?

FM: When I worked as a photographer, I realized the challenges female photographers have in the industry not just in South Africa but all over the continent. It truly was male dominated and I wanted to change that. Over the years I have watched the pool of talented black female photographers from the country grow. There were so many on social media and their works blew me away. There is a huge difference in how women use the medium and how they continue to push its boundaries. The female gaze is special and I created this exhibition specifically to highlight just how creative and talented the photographers are. I am grateful that organizations such Market Photo and The French Institute of South Africa realized the importance of this show and helped me achieve it.

Installation view, She Bad Bad.
Photography by Ngoma Mphahlele.

There is a huge difference
in how women use the medium
and how they continue to
push its boundaries.

SS: The title for the show points to the strength and tenacity of the artists in the show. Could you share more about your thinking behind this title?

FM: The word ‘bitch’ has been used in negative connotations for women doing things out of the ordinary, things that should not be done. But we also live in a time where young girls own it within these male-dominated spaces saying, ‘Yes, I have a right to be like this.’ The title of my exhibition ‘She Bad Bad’ came from a conversation I had with my 18-year-old niece where I was telling her about my career and the strides I had made at the time, and she said, ‘Oh you’re a bad bad. You’re a bad bitch, but you’re much badder than the bad bitch. You’re a double-bad bitch.’

My interpretation of a bad bitch is a woman who is owning her narrative, her power, her practices. Women who have found their voices and are not afraid to speak out. I want to remove negativity from it so that if someone labels you in that way, it does not hurt you.

SS: Was a consideration for a type of audience important in the development of the curatorial concept or curatorial decisions? If so, how would you describe this audience/audiences?

FM: Not particularly. I found most of the photographers on social media and they already had a large audience for me to consider. Most of their work lives online and this exhibition was an opportunity for the people who like and share the artist’s work to physically see it and possibly purchase it. It made sense for me to curate an exhibition where an audience can meet and support the artists they love and follow.

SS: Could you share more about the artists included in the show and why you feel connected to their work?

FM: The artists in the exhibition come from different backgrounds and they all have a unique way of using the medium. From collage to portraiture to illustration, each photographer showcased in this exhibition has found their own creative style and it fits beautifully in contemporary South African arts. This is what connected me to their work. It was even more amazing how they all knew each other. They all collectively pushed to show one another female photographers I could include in the show.

Installation view, She Bad Bad.
Photography by Ngoma Mphahlele.

It made sense for me to
curate an exhibition where an
audience can meet and support the
artists they love and follow.

SS: What were your key curatorial considerations for this show, and how did you attempt to create connections between the works on show?

FM: The key thing is that they had to be black and female and everything else followed. I then considered how each photographer used the medium and the final output of the work. There is also a connection with the use of fabric in some of the work. There is a sense of softness, femininity and sensuality in the works but also a bit of cheekiness (I want to say badass) which follows the title and the theme. The female form is very dominant and is approached in different ways by each artist. As a black female living in the African context, I connected to all the work. The final look and feel of the exhibition plays on ideas around the softness and hardness of the black women and the strengths they portray unapologetically. I personally made an installation out of whips, painted pink and displayed like a bouquet of flowers which I will be giving out at the closing celebration on the 27 August. Who doesn’t want a pink whip?

SS: She Bad Bad also has a podcast connected to the show. Could you share more about this, and why you think it is important to accompany the show with this form of engagement? Where can our audience access this podcast?

FM: With Covid as a huge game changer for the arts industry as a whole I wanted to create different ways to experience the exhibition. Throughout the pandemic I refused to do virtual exhibitions. This would be particularly harder for photographers as this is already a digital medium. Andiswa Mkosi from This Audio Is Visual and I decided to create and experiment with this podcast, it wouldn’t be just conversations but a podcast with many layers. From collage workshops to conversations and collaborations between artists, I really wanted the exhibition to live in different forms. This is particularly important during these times as we have to keep finding new ways to curate exhibitions both online and physically. The podcast can be found on the Market Photo Workshop website.

Installation view, She Bad Bad.
Photography by Ngoma Mphahlele.

Mus re officillupta non preri ut oditibere, quaecab orerum remod ut essequis antia
quaeperumqui officiet earum res

Mus re officillupta non preri ut oditibere, quaecab orerum remod ut essequis antia quaeperumqui officiet earum res veliatemolor adigeniamet ditatur sam nullupt isquodi cum fugit, vit fugitem quis cumquae. Mus re officillupta non preri ut oditibere, quaecab orerum remod ut essequis antia quaeperumqui officiet earum res veliatemolor adigeniamet ditatur sam nullupt isquodi cum fugit, vit fugitem quis cumquae. Mus re officillupta non preri ut oditibere, quaecab orerum remod ut essequis antia quaeperumqui officiet earum res veliatemolor adigeniamet ditatur sam nullupt isquodi cum fugit, vit fugitem quis cumquae. Mus re officillupta non preri ut oditibere, quaecab orerum remod ut essequis antia quaeperumqui officiet earum res veliatemolor adigeniamet ditatur sam nullupt isquodi cum fugit, vit fugitem quis cumquae.

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rem volorporro molorpo reperovitat et la volo volupta vernam aut aliqui ut doloressit quiduci aerfers perchicit ma ius magnimpero
vel magnime nonectore voles quae sume nobiti debis int, omnihitin nosam, con eum voluptate officimped que nima quo

Mus re officillupta non preri ut oditibere, quaecab orerum remod ut essequis antia
quaeperumqui officiet earum res

Mus re officillupta non preri ut oditibere, quaecab orerum remod ut essequis antia quaeperumqui officiet earum res veliatemolor adigeniamet ditatur sam nullupt isquodi cum fugit, vit fugitem quis cumquae. Mus re officillupta non preri ut oditibere, quaecab orerum remod ut essequis antia quaeperumqui officiet earum res veliatemolor adigeniamet ditatur sam nullupt isquodi cum fugit, vit fugitem quis cumquae. Mus re officillupta non preri ut oditibere, quaecab orerum remod ut essequis antia quaeperumqui officiet earum res veliatemolor adigeniamet ditatur sam nullupt isquodi cum fugit, vit fugitem quis cumquae. Mus re officillupta non preri ut oditibere, quaecab orerum remod ut essequis antia quaeperumqui officiet earum res veliatemolor adigeniamet ditatur sam nullupt isquodi cum fugit, vit fugitem quis cumquae.

Uptaquaepudi alias dolorepudi si dolupta ium deliquis sanit alicimusanis vel ium ratiisc ipiciistios dolectur, andignam nonsectest
rem volorporro molorpo reperovitat et la volo volupta vernam aut aliqui ut doloressit quiduci aerfers perchicit ma ius magnimpero
vel magnime nonectore voles quae sume nobiti debis int, omnihitin nosam, con eum voluptate officimped que nima quo

Top: Mus re officillupta non preri ut oditibere, quaecab orerum remod ut essequis antia quaeperumqui officiet earum
res uaeperumqui officiet earum res
Bottom: Mus re officillupta non preri ut oditibere, quaecab orerum remod ut essequis antia quaeperumqui officiet
earum res

Mus re officillupta non preri ut oditibere, quaecab orerum remod ut essequis antia
quaeperumqui officiet earum res

Installation view, She Bad Bad.
Photography by Ngoma Mphahlele.

CREDITS

Images courtesy of Fulufhelo Mobadi. Photography by Ngoma Mphahlele.

The exhibition is open until 27 August, 2021. On that evening there will be a full programme with guest speakers and refreshments.

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