Watch and Listen

Passage 8 by Mohau Modisakeng

Featuring a woman embarked on a journey with an uncertain outcome, South African artist Mohau Modisakeng's work evokes, among other things, the sinking of the SS Mendi in 1917.

Mohau Modisakeng
Passage 8
Digital photograph, pigmented print
Edition of 6 copies plus 2 artist's proofs, unnumbered copy
169.5 x 135 cm

Narrated by Olivia Fahmy, curator of the Collection of African Contemporary Art and of the Diaspora

"It is to the roots of our globalized world that can be traced the works of the Fondation Gandur pour l’Art’s collection of African contemporary and of the diaspora. What does the diaspora, this movement of displaced bodies, say about our world? In his piece Passage 8, South African artist Mohau Modisakeng portrays a woman with closed eyes. She lies on her back in a small boat whose bottom is painted white, with fabric draped across her body, a Basotho blanket. In her right hand she holds a whip, as though the object had resurfaced from the memory of the ocean. Her body is about to be submerged and to sink, evoking a shipwreck, that of the SS Mendi in 1917, as well as the transatlantic slave trade or the boats of migrants still crossing the Mediterranean today. The combative pose of this body reflects a struggle and a refusal, embodied in the majestic appropriation of the tools that have contributed to its own enslavement."