“Shifting the Gaze” at Livingstone Office for Contemporary Art (LoCA)

Curated by Stéphane Kabila, “Shifting the Gaze” is a critical exploration of notions relating to identity, belonging, and sociopolitical history as they appear in recent works by Marita Banda, Bwanga “Benny Blow” Kapumpa, and Andy Storchenegger. In the three-channel video installation Nobody is Okay, 2021–22, Banda and Storchenegger highlight the complex and occasionally uncomfortable feelings that surround ideas of belonging. The video departs from excerpts of Banda’s poems before moving on to footage of figures in stretchy monochrome costumes as they navigate the rocky landscapes around Livingstone.

In his multimedia installations, Kapumpa questions the dichotomous relationship between Christian and Indigenous understandings of spirituality and healing. He emphasizes the harmonies and tensions between these two approaches by putting into proximity symbols, sounds, and objects used in both belief systems. For instance, the morning bird call in A Familiar Poem, 2022, might represent a bad omen to Indigenous spiritualists, while in the context of Christianity, where the dove is associated with the end of the flood, its call might signal relief from a trial or obstacle. Other sculptural and sound installations push back at the idea of natural medicine as “witchcraft,” combining reed mats, folk music, and paper advertisements for services provided by ngangas (traditional healers) collected off public walls in Livingstone.

As a whole, the exhibition foregrounds the importance of artistic research while offering a space for one to contemplate what it means to belong, to stand out, or to assimilate within different communities and locales.

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