Creative gatherings focus on the theme of women’s work as artistic practice

By CityLife Arts Writer

Johannesburg-based artist Bev Butkow and independent curator Candice Allison have assembled four creative gatherings around the broad theme of women’s work as artistic practice. 

Supported by the National Arts Council South Africa, these gatherings will take place between 30 August and 14 September 2023 at the Origins Centre, Wits University, and run alongside Bev Butkow’s solo exhibition titled re-weaving m/other at the same venue.

The creative gatherings will engage a diverse group of artist-women, academics and thinkers from the global south, and serve to provoke, question, and reframe how women exist in the world as individuals, in community, and in relation to all other living beings. The gatherings frame artist-led curiosity as a source of generative insights and knowledge, as well as creating space for collaboration and community around shared interests.

The topic for each gathering will relate to the broader theme:  

Gathering 1 – the body and art – Wednesday 30 August 2023

The body and art explores action, gesture and the knowing bodies of both maker and viewer, by considering dialogues that occur somatically within both the creative process and the encounter with an artwork.


Keynote address – Buhlebezwe Siwani

Prompter – Katherine Dewar

Speakers – Shanti Govender, Dr Jenni Lauwrens, Fatima Tayob Moosa, Dr Kirti Ranchod

 Gathering 2 – a material uprising – Wednesday 6 September 2023

A material uprising considers how materials ‘speak’ by exploring the intimate, symbiotic, synchronistic and receptive relationships that artists have with their materials.


Keynote address – Weiwei Wang

Prompter – Tracy Murinik

Speakers – Kutlwano Monyai, Hannelie Coetzee, Dr Adelheid Frackiewicz, Bev Butkow 

 Gathering 3 – the value of women’s labour – Tuesday 12 September 2023

The value of women’s labour considers the burden of care on artist-women/artist-mothers, while simultaneously foregrounding care as a guiding philosophy of creative process, and of a re-visioned world.


Keynote address – Grace Cross

Prompter – Lara Koseff

Speakers – Mary Corrigall, Philiswa Lilla, Princia Matungulu, Nina Barnett

 Gathering 4 – traces we leave upon the Earth – Thursday 14 September 2023 (online only)

 Traces we leave upon the Earth thinks deeply about our impact – materially, socially, environmentally and otherwise – on each other and Mother Earth in the age of the Anthropocene. What ethical, moral and material responsibilities do we have to the traces that we leave? How do we walk upon this earth?


Keynote address – Zayaan Khan

Prompter – Candice Allison

Speakers – Dr Jessica Webster, Io Makandal, Miliswa Ndziba, Day Mthembu, Dr Meghan Judge

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