Lerato Shadi

Moremogolo (Go Betlwa Wa Taola). Lerato Shadi. Foto: Emma Haugh
Moremogolo (Go Betlwa Wa Taola). Photo: Emma Haugh

Lerato Shadi uses her body as a medium for the performative investigation into the politics of transformation from absence to presence, subject to object, inclusion, exclusion and vice versa. Through time based and often repetitive actions she engages with conscious acts of protest as well as past and present movements against colonial structures, and confronts their erasure in dominant narratives. Giving her body agency to disrupt history, stereotyping and assumption, from her practice emerges a different and de-hierarchical writing of history. Moremogolo (Go Betlwa Wa Taola) is a two channel video carrying a Setswana idiom in its title, which literally means, ‘as a person only you can make yourself who you are.’ Shot at Shadi’s place of birth in the village of Lotlhakane in Mahikeng, South Africa, the work unfolds in three parts: She fills her mouth with soil to a point where she chokes in the first part which deals with the utmost extremes of individual insurgency and with colonial claims to land ownership. The second is based on how Shadi experiences the impact of colonial language and the lack of vocabulary to articulate historical violence. An allegory of resistance, the final part situates a figure with a skin and mask of red wool in a South African landscape.