To see this story better, close your eyes

Event Type:



Reid Gallery Reid Building, The Glasgow School of Art 164 Renfrew Street Glasgow G3 6RF


17 Feb 2018 - 7 Mar 2018

Mon 10:00 - 16:30
Tue 10:00 - 16:30
Wed 10:00 - 16:30
Thu 10:00 - 16:30
Fri 10:00 - 16:30
Sat 10:00 - 16:30
Sun 10:00 - 16:30



Kiljuanji Kia Henda, 'Havemos de Voltar (We Shall Return)', 2017.
Single-channel film. Courtesy: Goodman Gallery Johannesburg

To see this story better, close your eyes

Event info

To see this story better, close your eyes

Reid Gallery
17 February - 7 March 2018
Preview: Friday, 16 February, 5-7pm

Curated by Chloë Reid

An exhibition of film and writing by Thabo Jijana, Jemma Kahn, Kiluanji Kia Henda, Rosa Lyster, Mitchell Gilbert Messina, Njabulo Ndebele, Sean O'Toole, Pravasan Pillay, Chad Rossouw, Penny Siopis, Helen Sullivan and Marianne Thesen Law.

The exhibition title is taken from Banana Moon by Thabo Jijana, 2017.

To see this story better, close your eyes gathers the work of twelve artists and writers currently exhibiting and publishing in South Africa. Each of the films, audio recordings and texts featured in the exhibition employ narrative as a technique, subject or medium. The work is deliberately positioned in the gallery to prompt multiple and overlapping readings.

In Kiluanji Kia Henda's film, Havemos de Voltar (We Shall Return), Amélia Capomba, a stuffed sable antelope, plans her escape from the Archive Centre where she refuses to serve as a historical prop. Through found footage, text and music, Penny Siopis' film, The New Parthenon merges the mediations of an ordinary man's modern Greek history of war, globalization and migration. Helen Sullivan's poem, Mendi, describes the sinking of the British troopship in 1917 that killed 616 South Africans (most of them black South African troops). In Pravasan Pillay's Crooks, sixty-eight year old Kamla reflects on her life as she bathes and washes her adult daughter, Ambi. In Death of a Son by Njabulo Ndebele, a mother narrates the thorny process of grieving the death of her son under the apartheid regime. Thabo Jijana's Banana Moon is apprehensive of the festive character that accompanies a funeral.

Mitchell Gilbert Messina reveals the dark undercurrent of the commercial art world involving the ritual sacrifice of young artists in Detective TalesMessina and Marianne Thesen Law collaboratively illustrate a clumsy and competitive dialogue of sexual fetish in the film, Fantasies Vol. 1. Sean O'Toole provides A Short History of PleasureRosa Lyster delivers the commission, The People's BirdChad Rossouw considers the history of the appearance of the parrot in Western Literature, twice, in relation to Jemma Kahn's Somebody You've Already Painted Many Times from Memory. In Kahn's film, actors mimic an interview between David Sylvester and Francis Bacon.

This exhibition is curated by Chloë Reid, who has been generously assisted by Helen Sullivan in her capacity as editor of Prufrock magazine.

Chloë Reid was born in 1989 in Johannesburg, South Africa. She has a bachelor in Fine Art from the Michaelis School of Fine Art, UCT (2011) and a Master of Fine Art from The Glasgow School of Art (2017). She is an artist and writer and is currently on a Fellowship at the Glasgow Sculpture Studios.



Thabo Jijana was born in 1988 eNgqushwa, South Africa, a diffuse community of hardscrabble villages nestled deep in Ndlambe country. His debut collection, Failing Maths and My Other Crimes, was awarded the Ingrid Jonker Prize for Poetry (2016). His work can be read as a perpetual foregrounding of questions of rural identity. He holds an MA in Creative Writing from Rhodes University. He is currently a publisher at black letter media, a small, independent press based in Johannesburg.

Jemma Kahn is a theatre maker and artist based in Johannesburg. Working primarily in Kamishibai, a form of Japanese illustrated theatre, Kahn has performed extensively both nationally and abroad. She has won numerous awards for her theatrework including, most recently, the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Theatre 2018. A new Kamishibai show, In bocca al Lupo, written by Jemma Kahn and Tertius Kapp, directed by Jane Taylor and illustrated by Kahn, is currently touring Cape Town and Johannesburg.   

Kiluanji Kia Henda was born in 1979 in Luanda, Angola. He is an artist based between Luanda and Lisbon, Portugal, who works across photography, video and performance. His solo exhibitions have been held in galleries and institutions around the world. His work has featured on biennales in Venice, Dakar and São Paulo as well as major travelling exhibitions such as Making Africa: A Continent of Contemporary Design and The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Hell, Purgatory revisited by Contemporary African Artists. He is the most recent recipient of the Freize Artist Award.

Rosa Lyster was born in 1984 in Durban, South Africa. She is a writer and doctoral candidate living in Cape Town, South Africa.

Mitchell Gilbert Messina (b.1991) works primarily as a video artist in Cape Town, South Africa. He produces short narrative and conversational videos told through found images, re-purposed 3d models, stock footage and foley sound packs. His work has been included in several group shows including Filter Bubble, curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Simon Castets at the LUMA Foundation’s Westbau in Zürich, and more recently exhibited Go Away Mitchell, a solo exhibition with Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town. 

Professor Njabulo Ndebele was born in 1948 in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is an award-winning author of fiction and essays. He holds a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Denver and has received Honorary Doctorates from universities in South Africa, United States, Japan, Europe and the United Kingdom. He is Chairman of The Nelson Mandela Foundation, and The Mandela Rhodes Foundation and is currently Chancellor of the University of Johannesburg.

Sean O’Toole was born in 1968 in Pretoria, South Africa. He an author, critic, journalist and editor based in Cape Town. His essays, cultural journalism and reviews have appeared in numerous books, journals, newspapers and magazines. He has published one book of fiction, The Marquis of Mooikloof and Other Stories (2006), and is a founding editor of Ciyscapes, a magazine project of the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town. 

Penny Siopis was born in 1953 in Vryburg, South Africa, and lives in Cape Town. She has an MFA (1976) and an Honorary Doctorate (2017) from Rhodes University, Grahamstown. Siopis is currently an Honorary Professor at Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town. She works in painting, film/video, photography and installation.

Pravasan Pillay was born in 1978 in Durban, South Africa. He has published two chapbooks of poetry, Glumlazi (2009) and 30 Poems (2015), as well as a collection of co-written comedic short stories, Shaggy (2013). His short story collection, Chatsworth, is forthcoming. He is also the editor of the micro-press Tearoom Books.

Chad Rossouw was born in 1982 in Cape Town, South Africa where he works as an artist, writer and a lecturer. He has a bachelor in Fine Art from Michaelis School of Fine Art, UCT and a Masters degree at the same institution. He has had two solo exhibitions in Cape Town, at Brundyn & Gonsalves (2012) and Whatiftheworld (2009) respectively. He is the editor of artthrob.co.za and was the founding editor of ArtHeat, under the alias Robert Sloon.

Helen Sullivan was born in 1989 in Pretoria. She is a South African writer who lives in Sydney. She has been published in The New Yorker online, The Monthly, and The Guardian and writes book reviews for the Sydney Morning Herald. She is one of the founders of Prufrock Magazine and a graduate of Columbia Journalism School's Publishing Program. 

Marianne Thesen Law (b. 1994) is a Cape Town-based artist and writer. They work mainly with video, text and performance, with a thematic focus on language and communication, bodies, death, ghosts, sex and work. Since graduating from Michaelis School of Fine Art in 2016, they have been working as an art writer and performed in Cape Town and London. They are currently working on creating DIY art spaces outside of established institutions within Cape Town.