Batho Ba is a dialogue between several performative actions by Lerato Shadi adopting the format of a conference with Katja Gentric, contemporary art history researcher and visual artist.
Through her artistic approach, Lerato Shadi (South Africa)’s work challenges common assumptions to critique Western notions of history and make visible that which is invisible or overlooked. Working across video, performance and installation, and often employing repetitive processes, she argues the importance of centering—not just including—the marginalised body as a main figure of narrative experience. By placing herself at the forefront of her work, Lerato Shadi deals with the politics of cultural erasure and structural exclusion. She states: “It serves to challenge myself, and hopefully my audience as well, in how I/we are complicit in the violence of historical erasure by not fighting for a more inclusive and accurate historical narrative. I realised that—by just blindly or lazily accepting an inaccurate history—I would be sanctioning the problematic dominant narrative with my own inactivity.”
Artist and art historian, Katja Gentric is an associate researcher at the Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire de Recherches “Sociétés, Sensibilités, Soin” (LIR3S; UMR 7366 – CNRS uB) and at the “Institut des Mondes Africains” (IMAF; UMR 8171 - UMR 243 IRD). She teaches English at ESADHaR (École Supérieure d'Art et Design Le Havre-Rouen) and at Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. Following a post-doctoral project with the title “Artistic practices and use of language” at the University of the Free State, South Africa, she is currently fellow at the Günther Uecker Institut, Schwerin, Germany, with the project Günther Uecker – Blickwinkel ‘South’ ”. This project focuses on the interwoven implications of language (the impossibility thereof concomitant with the obligation to voice) in Wounded Fields, a work by Günther Uecker in the collection of the Mayibuye Archives, University of the Western Cape.
The Dialogues Across the African World cycle is presented by école des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales and Cité internationale des arts, and run by Dominique Malaquais (CR, CNRS-IMAF), Julie Peghini (MCF, Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint Denis University-CEMTI), Christine Douxami (MCF HDR, Franche-Comté University-IMAF) and Sarah Fila-Bakabadio (MCF, CY Cergy Paris Université-AGORA).