Balance for Better: Redesigning a Woman's Space

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The Balance for Better: Redesigning a Woman’s Space exhibition is celebrating women’s strength and grace, triumphs and struggles; while encouraging attention to well-being and heritage issues. The show is about building a more gender-balanced world where everyone has a role to play. It focuses on the societal gender

balance as well as the poise required in a woman’s life for her to evenly distribute her multiple roles. Working together in different social activities and advocating for a healthy lifestyle helps to bring about that balance for better that the world desires. The exhibition is also looking at the Intersectionality of Gender Based Analysis. These issues are components of balancing the patriarchal framework through inclusivity in all industry and each niche of society.
Doris Kamupira’s “Honey, Reminder List is on the fridge!” indicates that the man is remaining at home whilst the woman goes to work as she is the bread winner. This situation does occur and the work serves to sanitise such a choice.
The exhibition questions where the woman’s space is. Although women are working extremely hard to redefine their role in society, they are experiencing difficulties in achieving this. Alison Baker elaborates this notion in her work “You couldn’t claim my soul”.

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Marina Gruber’s “Passing Limitations” is interrogating the boundaries, dangers and the vulnerability a woman undergoes while keeping up appearances. There are incidences around the world where women are involved in very abusive relationships as a means to put food on the table, pay rent and keep afloat. This can sometimes bring women to spaces where they did not exist before. The blood, sweat and tears involved in women hustling to earn a better living and to fulfill their desires are also illustrated in Prudence Chimutuwah and Progress Nyandoro’s work. The quiet presence of the women in their works probably being what they might have to do in order to attain success.
 
“Balance Me” by Eva Raath is quizzing which duties are most important. Women seem to be hauled in many different directions. The interactive installation is encouraging the viewer to determine which facet of a woman’s life is the hardest to balance and why.

Being defined by religion, traditional beliefs, norms and culture has led to women feeling that one is unheard. Where does she turn to? Kundai Nathan argues in “Undiminished Cerebral Cortex”, that a woman’s space is not defined by parity or comparison and that space is found in oneself through awareness. This awareness is found in the mind. This like many of the works present food for thought.  

“Equilibrium” by Shamilla Aasha investigates how a person balances their true aspirations and fulfills their duties in a typical African society. Her intricate, woven fabric installation represents the complicated patriarchal systems that define her role.
The exhibition showcases the work of 29 women and all of them are at different places in their artistic journeys. Some are well established while others are producing their most accomplished work to date. Others are emerging and reveal to their hesitancy at this stage. Others are already revealing their potential to scale greater heights. Altogether a diverse and engaging show that speaks on different levels while giving us multiple glimpses on what such a new space might resemble.

Curated by Doreen Sibanda and Valerie Sithole