Brighton CCA presents A Quiet Fire, the first major exhibition of works in a UK institution by Malawian artist Billie Zangewa. From 24 Feb to 13 May, Malawian artist Billie Zangewa has been commissioned to create new site specific work at epic scale for the South Gallery at #Brighton CCA.
Zangewa’s practice, using collaged fabric and embroidery foregrounds the domestic experience of black women as a political act, depicting the rituals, chores and pleasures of everyday life to speak to larger narratives of equality, belonging and the human condition. Alongside her commission, in the North Gallery in Brighton will be a presentation of existing works shown within a bespoke installation acting as a capsule retrospective of the artists’ practice – many showing in the UK for the first time. Following the presentation in Brighton the exhibition will tour to two further major UK galleries – John Hansard Gallery, Southampton and Tramway, Glasgow.
In her work Zangewa creates intricate figurative collages from hand-stitched fragments of raw silk challenging the historical stereotypes of objectification and exploitation of Black women. From her earliest works, embroideries depicting remembered botanical scenes from Botswana, Zangews has transitioned to cityscapes focusing on her experience as a woman in the city of Johannesburg. These works led her to think more critically about how women view themselves and what the visualization of the female gaze, through self-portraiture, could look like
A Quiet Fire begins with a capsule retrospective of Zangewa’s work from the last ten years. These works, reflective of both a domestic life and her determination to be seen on her own terms, speak powerfully to the artists’ ongoing mission to challenge the mainstream cultural, racial and social silos in which Black women are placed. Through the method of their making and narrative content, Zangewa shows gendered labour in a socio-political context, where the domestic sphere becomes a pretext for a deeper understanding of the construction of identity, questions around gender stereotypes, and racial prejudice. Reflecting the artists’ life and experience as a single mother, which she refers to as a ‘daily feminism’, the works define a space for representation of Black female domestic life, ambition, hope and identity.
Brighton CCA: 25 February – 15 May 2023
John Hansard Gallery: 3 June – 9 September 2023
Tramway Glasgow: 1 October 2023 – 27 January 2024
58 –67 Grand Parade Brighton BN2 0JY, UK www.brightoncca.art @brightoncca