Browse shows

Uncovering hidden narratives in (South) Africa

Published on 12 June 2018

Artistic Committee Member and curator of the Visual Art programme ERNESTINE WHITE-MIFETU says this year’s selection touches on all the different aspects of the lived experiences of being human.


At the core of the Visual and Performance Art selections this year – under the broad theme of Voices and Silences – is the desire to unpack and showcase how South African artists have chosen to actively highlight and disrupt the prevailing prejudicial narratives of the past that continue to influence how we as (South) Africans relate to each other today; to uncover forgotten narratives in relation to our national identity; highlight the cruel silencing of women’s voices in the context of violent public and private spaces; and make visible the indescribable experience of grief over the loss of a loved one.

The Visual Art Programme at NAF18 is strongly focused on the voice as the literal and metaphoric tool used by artists to pierce through time in an attempt to remember that which has been forgotten, to rise above the circumstances of the vulnerable in personal and collective defiance and to act as a cipher to articulate the inner most emotions of life and death.

Working within the genres of painting, sculpture, performance and installation, these contemporary artists explore intimate narratives that speak of uncovered collective histories, of individual and societal violence and trauma, shame, loss and power relations. Lastly, it is hoped that the works presented this year will serve as platforms to unpack the challenging dynamics of the contemporary lived South African experience.

About Ernestine White-Mifetu

ERNESTINE WHITE-MIFETU was born in Cape Town is currently the curator of Contemporary Art at Iziko’s South African National Gallery. Her experience within the arts and culture sector spans a period of fifteen years. She holds a Bachelors degree in Fine Art (1999) cum laude from the State University of Purchase College in New York, a Master Printer degree in Fine Art Lithography (2001) from the Tamarind Institute in New Mexico, a Masters degree in Fine Art (2004) from the Michaelis School of Fine Art, Cape Town, and a Honours degree in Curatorship (2013) from the University of Cape Town’s Michaelis School of Fine Art.

White-Mifetu obtained her initial curatorial experience working as the Exhibitions Coordinator (2004-2006) and thereafter as Senior Projects Coordinator for Parliament’s nation building initiative, the Parliamentary Millennium Programme. Prior to this she worked as the Collections Manager for Iziko’s South African National Gallery.

As an independent artist her work can be found in major collections in South Africa as well as in the United States. Ernestine White’s most recent accomplishment was the inclusion of her artwork into permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, US.