A picture is worth a thousand words, goes the old adage. So then it goes without saying that a photographic exhibition would be a conversation piece.
This is exactly what Anelisa Mangcu and Yang Zhao, the curators of the Women’s Month Expo that will show at the Strand Tower Hotel this Saturday, had in mind.
In partnership with events co-ordinator Luyanda Peter and with live performances by The Pressure (DJs Emisang and Shiba), the Women’s Month Expo will feature works by several South African photographers and those who come to check out the art will also be treated to a talk by Seventeen Magazine editor, Janine Jellars.
As curator Mangcu explained: “The Women’s Month Expo is actually a collaboration between creatives because we wanted to bring about awareness and celebrate women as a whole. So we gathered a lot of photographers and asked them to interpret the theme of women the way they see it.”
From the Women’s Month Expo tumblr blog, it’s clear that many of the photographers who wanted to take part in this initiative see the theme as close-up portraits of women in all kinds of situations.
An overwhelming number of the photos on the site are of black women, with one or two white females included.
When I ask Mangcu about this she points out: “I guess people were just interpreting the theme that way. I know it’s very localised because you see a lot of women in traditional attire, but all we did was open up the idea of people sending images and our role was to put the images on a blog platform.”
That means not all of the pictures that are on tumblr will be exhibited at the expo.
The Women’s Month Expo will feature only black and white images as “they came across as stronger and we loved the narrative in each story because each has a story to tell”.
For this expo, no pictures will be up for sale yet because, Mangcu says: “It’s more of an exhibition than people investing in pieces at the moment. We want to promote the photographers for now.”
They also want to accept donations for women in the charities the expo seeks to partner with. They include two women’s shelters in District Six and Khayelitsha.
While the expo is a one-night only affair, Mangcu and Zhao hope to have an expo every month from now on.
• The Women’s Month Expo takes place at the Stand Tower Hotel in the CBD on Saturday at 6.30pm. Entrance is free, but donations are welcome.