Brighton CCA is delighted to present A Quiet Fire, the first solo exhibition in a UK institution by Malawian artist Billie Zangewa. In her work Zangewa creates intricate figurative collages from hand-stitched fragments of raw silk that challenge the historical stereotypes and perceptions used to objectify and exploit Black women. Zangewa creates images of strength, independence and tenderness, often contrasted with darker moments of prejudice or distain to embody a combination of melancholy and hope which is both autobiographical and universal.
The exhibition features a new panoramic, narrative silk collage echoing classical frescos and history painting in its format, establishing a reframing of its subject. Alongside this new work commissioned by Brighton CCA, A Quiet Fire includes a collection of earlier works reflective of the artist’s work and practice over the last 12 years; chronicling her experience as a Black woman living in Johannesburg. These images, described by the artist as acts of daily feminism, are intimate and confident speaking powerfully of the artist’s sense of self and of female identity; domestic and professional personas, an inner life and public face. A Quiet Fire is a visualization of what the female gaze, through self-portraiture, could look like.
The exhibition is accompanied by a new text commissioned from author Deesha Philyaw and will travel to John Hansard Gallery, Southampton and Tramway, Glasgow.
Billie Zangewa has been show widely in the United States and Europe. Her work is in several public and private collections including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Centre Pompidou, Paris, France; Harris Museum, Art Gallery & Library, Preston, United Kingdom; Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH; Institute of Contemporary Art / Boston, Boston, MA; Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa; JP Morgan Chase Art Collection, New York, NY; Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, MN; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; Norval Foundation, Cape Town, South Africa; RISD Museum, Providence, RI; Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Atlanta, GA; Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands; and Tate Modern, London, United Kingdom. She is represented by Lehmann Maupin Gallery.
Works in A Quiet Fire by Billie Zangewa by Daisy Proud