Art

Artist imagines a world in which black excellence is not seen as an exception

Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi tells Anthea Buys about her powerful solo show, 'Gymnasium', and why she refuses to pander to the 'alien narrative'

22 March 2020 - 00:00 By Anthea Buys

For artist Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi, the art world is like a gymnastics tournament. The people who matter most - artists - bend over backwards for recognition, and the ones doing the recognising are still, overwhelmingly, white audiences and king-makers.

In the world of gymnastics, the unprecedented skill of African-American athlete Simone Biles has altered how the sport itself functions. For a young, black, female athlete to ring such changes in an arena that's been dominated by white bodies and voices is, sadly, exceptional. In art, despite there being many a Biles, transformation is slower still...

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