WE KOPPEL, WE DALA
BY ROBERTA RICH
We Koppel, We Dala presents narratives of southern African origins that explore concepts of identity, migration, self-determination and representation. Painful artefacts remind us of oppressive histories and their ongoing impacts. Apartheid continues. Disguised globally. Framed within South African Apartheid history, the exhibition seeks to consider adjacent histories of colonialism such as that of so-called ‘Australia’ and its own histories of segregation, and to acknowledge this.
We Koppel, We Dala explores personal relationships within these histories, by occupying significant sites of reclamation and loss: the mountains where Khoi and San ancestors traversed; memorials of the 76’ youth uprisings; sites of removed of colonial statues; and visiting former family residences. Fist thrust into the air, the artist acknowledges connection to place and history. The plight of residents of District Six and many other communities who were displaced as a result of South Africa’s Group Areas Act, continues 50 years on, though not in silence. Because we must koppel, we must dala.
26 June – 13 July
Image credit: M/otherLand by RobertaRich, 2018. Image by Lyndon Campbell
Roberta Rich draws from historical, socio-political, media and popular culture to engage with notions of ‘authenticity’, its relationship to constructed identities, and their forms of representation. In doing so, Rich aims to de-construct colonial modalities through arts practice while ascertaining empowering forms of self-determination, often referencing her diaspora African identity and experiences.
Since completing her MFA at Monash University (2013), Rich has exhibited projects in Melbourne, interstate and across Johannesburg and Cape Town. Recent solo shows include: Bubblegum Club (Johannesburg, 2016); Blak Dot Gallery (Melbourne, 2017); Next Wave Festival (Arts House, 2018); Bus Projects (2018), and group exhibitions at Wits Art Museum (Johannesburg, 2017); Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees (Western Cape, 2017); Firstdraft, (Sydney, 2018), and Gallery MOMO (Cape Town, 2018). Rich is an alumni of Footscray Community Art Centre’s Emerging Cultural Leaders Program. Rich’s recent residencies in South Africa were supported by NAVA’s Freedman Foundation Travelling Scholarship for Emerging Artists.
Artist website: www.robertajoyrich.com