Billie Zangewa: A Quiet Fire

3 Jun-9 Sep 2023

John Hansard Gallery
Southampton SO14 7DU


Featuring a new, panoramic collage made from hand-stitched silk, the exhibition challenges the historical stereotypes used to objectify and exploit Black women. Zangewa’s autobiographical yet universal work contrasts melancholy with hope, strength with disdain, and independence with prejudice.

As well as a new commission made especially for the exhibition, also featured are a selection of Zangewa’s earlier works that reflect her practice and experience as a Black woman living in Johannesburg. These early works, described by Zangewa as ‘acts of daily feminism’, show an intimate, confident sense of self and female identity. A Quiet Fire is a visualisation of what the female gaze, through self-portraiture, could look like.

The exhibition was initiated by, and is presented in partnership with, Brighton CCA, and is accompanied by a newly commissioned fictional text by author Deesha Philyaw. After John Hansard Gallery, the exhibition will be shown at Tramway in Glasgow.

A Quiet Fire has been made possible through the generous support of Lehmann Maupin Gallery.