Odd Interview: Pussy on a Plinth

An Interview

By Shameelah Khan


The name of the collective was influenced by…

This collective is comprised of ten womxn artists, based in Johannesburg, taking over and occupying male-dominated spaces in Johannesburg. Printmaking (particularly linocut) is a male-dominated field in the art industry which is still seen as unchartered territory for womxn, particularly womxn of colour. By reclaiming this medium and form of working, these women are exploring the processes of relief and what it means to be in the process of relief – to release.

By looking at themes that are explored in their projects, these womxn go through the process of interrogating how the political invades and interferes with everyday life.

This becomes a manifestation through an amalgamation of patriarchal culture, ‘post’-colonial or gendered culture; the gaze;  human consumption, black womxnhood and its experiences; rethinking and re-understanding mislabeling and misinterpretations of the marginalized majority; responsibility politics and rape culture; an introspection of coloured womxn in the household; the anatomy and objectifying of the womxn’s bodies through a sexual gaze; mental health and its detriments; and looking at how personal power can be explored through passion politics. All these themes speak to the practice of the individual artists and this occupation is an extension of their praxis.

From this interrogation, POP hopes to achieve a dismantling of male-dominated and elitist spaces by reclaiming the spaces they occupy. Their exhibitions would serve as a platform to voice the inequality that exists in everyday life and the South African art industry in hopes of tackling the lack of visibility and exposure of womxn artists of colour. It would be redundant not to include the financial aspect of survival of the artists outside of the institution.

They would also like to include a zine jam which encourages a space to share and cultivate knowledge between people free of social barriers and positions. This will serve as an advertisement for their show which will include the interactive aspect of it, where the public is involved in the curatorial process. This will also take place at various studios and to name a dominant studio where their work has been featured- DGI, Danger Gevaar Ingozi Studios. The zine jam is essential for the shows because as a collective who has worked together, they are building an archive of publications that speak to the culture of creation and collaboration with the broader public. This will also act as a form of inspiration and influence for their collective work.