The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) presents an open-studio investigation, KASSARAM, by multi-disciplinary artist Thania Petersen as part of the museum’s Atelier Residency programme.
Meaning a big mess, out of place or upside-down, KASSARAM is taken from the title of Petersen’s most recent art film, which analyses strategies used in creating and perpetuating cultural divides amongst people of colour through art: from colonialism to the present. It is also a fitting word to describe the open and experimental nature of the Atelier space Petersen works from over the next five months.
Launched as an experimental platform and residency that provides artists with an opportunity to create new work, conduct research and develop ideas for future projects, the Atelier is a multi-gallery area situated on the museum’s second floor. In addition to providing an exploratory space for artists, the Atelier is also open to the public, allowing visitors to Zeitz MOCAA to have unique access and insight into the artists’ modes of production and processes.
Petersen uses photography, performance and installation to address the intricacies and complexities of her identity in contemporary South Africa. Her work, which forms part of the Zeitz permanent collection.
Throughout the artist’s projects, she attempts to unpack contemporary trends of Islamophobia through her analysis of the continuing impact of colonialism, European and American imperialism, and the increasing influence of right-wing ideologies, all anchored by reference points that sit largely in Islam and the awareness of its religious, cultural and traditional practices.