Nkule Mabaso (born 1988) recieves the International Solo Award 2012
The South African artist Nkule Mabaso focuses on how "beauty" is traditionally designed and asks the questions: what structures are hiding behind bodily alienation, marginalisation and power struggles and not least behind the demarcation in connection with racial differences and sexual identity.
According to Nkule Mabaso the perception of how the beautiful and attractive black women should look like is still closely related to the racial value hierarchies originating from the South African colonial period.
Nkule Mabaso likes to use her personal experiences as a starting point when testing how the female body experiences these circumstances. She wants to challenge the conventional conceptions where the non-western female body is maintained as a free playground for other people's fantasy.
Historically speaking the Europeans have exposed the foreign black body to scientific dissection and found interesting anomalies – e.g. the frizzy hair has been an object of separate discussions.
Black women are still fighting an exhausting and hopeless struggle in their attempt to tame their hair using chemicals and straightener to adapt their hairstyle to external standards – you have to look like the white people to be attractive and socially acceptable. As to this Nkule Mabaso stresses the wildness of the hair – black Rapunzel hair which has naturally turned into tangled bundles. In Africa dreadlocks are often associated with being excluded and homeless.