Lefa Le by Lerato Shadi opens February 6 in the SACI Gallery | SACI College of Art & Design Florence


Alumni & Exhibitions

Lefa Le by Lerato Shadi opens February 6 in the SACI Gallery

Lerato Shadi, Re Maotwana

Lefa Le by Lerato Shadi opens February 6 in the SACI Gallery

Curated by BHMF
In collaboration with Villa Romana

SACI Gallery
OPENING RECEPTION: February 6, 2019 at 6:00pm
ON VIEW: February 6 - March 3, 2019

As part of the fourth edition of Black History Month Florence, Studio Arts College International presents a site-specific installation by Lerato Shadi that engages questions of visual literacy and the de-colonialization of canonical lenses of interpretation. The work’s experiential theatricality is undercut with celebratory meditation intended to unsettle the viewer’s expectations and assumptions. Inviting the viewer behind the curtain, the work becomes a vacuous performative space riddled with “Black feminist fugitivity”1. Composed of two dialectical neon signs, the work is flanked by a 2018 performance-based video Re Maotwana in collaboration with choreographer Sello Pesa. In keeping with the theme of the 2019 edition of BHMF, Adagio (see article in The Florentine), the installation invites an attentive and reflective viewership to contemplate the complexities of historical amnesia and inverted paradigms.

Text by BHMF
1 Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Spill: Scenes of Black Femminist Fugitivity, 2016, Duke University Press



SACI Clayton Hubbs Lecture Hall
LECTURE: February 4, 2019 at 7:30pm

For the occasion of her solo project Lefa Le inaugurating Wednesday, February 6th at the SACI Gallery as part of the fourth edition of Black History Month Florence, the artist presents a lecture as a way of contextualizing her current project within the trajectory of her career. For this lecture Shadi will share her work spanning performance and video and her own development as an artist.  Lerato, who was a Villa Romana Prize Fellow in 2018, will additionally discuss the impact on her work of working in Florence.


Lerato Shadi Biography

Lerato Shadi’s artistic practice explores problematic assumptions projected onto the Black female body and how performance, video and installation can create a space to engage with those preconceived notions, making the body both visible and invisible. Shadi questions how the white cube (gallery and the museum) can be symbolic of spaces of exclusion. How does the location and architecture affect the body that is performing in it? Why is it important to center, not just include— the marginalized body as a main figure of narrating experience?

LERATO SHADI lives and works in Berlin. She studied visual art at the University of Johannesburg and graduated in 2006. Shadi earned a M.A. (Spatial Strategies) from Kunsthochschule Berlin Weißensee in 2018. She was included in ‘The Generational’ Younger Than Jesus artists-directory published by the New Museum, New York in 2009. From 2010 to 2012, Shadi was a member of the ‘Bag Factory artist studios’ in Johannesburg. Her work was featured at the Dak’art Biennale and in the III Moscow International Biennale in 2012. She is a fellow of Sommerakademie 2013 (Zentrum Paul Klee). Shadi was awarded with the mart stam studio grant, Berlin in 2014 and received the Alumni Dignitas Award of the University of Johannesburg in 2016. She presented her solo show Noka Ya Bokamoso at the South African National Arts Festival in Grahamstown in 2016. Shadi participated in The Parliament of Bodies, the Public Programs of documenta 14 and was awarded with the AFRICA’SOUT! residency program (Brooklyn, NY) in 2017. Shadi is fellow of the German Villa Romana Prize in Florence (Italy) for 2018.


Photos by Michaela Mau

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