fbpx Biennale Architettura 2023 | Gugulethu Sibonelelo Mthembu
La Biennale di Venezia

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Gugulethu Sibonelelo Mthembu

Gender & Geography
Embodiments: Port of Shir — Final Act

  • TUE - SUN
    20/05 > 30/09
    11 AM - 7 PM

    01/10 > 26/11
    10 AM - 6 PM
  • Arsenale
  • Admission with ticket

Gugulethu Sibonelelo Mthembu (Soweto, Republic of South Africa, 1992)
lives and works in Johannesburg, Republic of South Africa


The tale of Aicha Qandisha has existed since the seventh century. She is said to have been a shapeshifting female spirit that takes the form of multiple beings. Aicha Qandisha appears mostly in men’s dreams and is said to make a man who is possessed by her impotent or seduced into infidelity. Scholars have described how the position of Qandisha in folklore absolves men of their ‘ills’ and places the blame on the female spirit form. Africa’s eras of colonisation and some of its current politics still carry these manifestations of fears and biases toward the power and representation of women. Situated across different sites significant to the redressing of histories and legacies of female oppression and representation, this work takes the form of new story for Aicha Qandisha, one in which she is repatriated across the sites: a concubine slave ship, the court of law, the King’s palace, and now at the Biennale Architettura.


Nelo Lelo Construction and Design
With the additional support of
Gonang Consulting Services, African Futures Institute

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Biennale Architettura
Biennale Architettura