This segment of the programme, convened by Jade Nair, takes its name from the afternoon screening of Spring Queen (2014) that commences the session. A Q&A follows the screening between Nair and filmmaker Professor Siona O’Connell, where they reflect on the Spring Queen project and the responsibility of representing marginalised communities. Next, Dr Erica de Greef presents selected projects focused on the work of making fashion, how fashion is laboured and the co-opting of the uniform by the urban middle class. Performance artist, Queezy, then provides an autobiographical presentation tracing their practice of refusal and activism through fashion. The session concludes with a panel discussion about the power of dress to disrupt and interrupt.
Professor Siona O’Connell
Professor Siona O’Connell (PhD) is an African Studies scholar at The School of the Arts at the University of Pretoria. Her research focus falls within three areas, that of Memory Studies, Creative Studies and Restorative Justice in postcolonial and post-apartheid South Africa. She is widely respected for her work on land restitution in South Africa as well as for research on women of South Africa’s clothing and textile industry.
Her co-edited book, Hanging on a Wire won the 2018 National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS) Humanities and Social award for the best non-fiction edited volume and her monograph on forced removals in Cape Town, An Impossible Return: Cape Town’s Forced Removals continues to garner broad recommendations.
She has curated numerous exhibitions and directed and produced 8 film documentaries that emerge out of her commitment to research that is focused in trauma, memory and belonging in post-apartheid South Africa. She use the creative project to think about difficult questions of belonging, violence and redress, shifting frames from aesthetics to restorative justice.
O’Connell was a Trilateral Reconnections Project Fellow (Brown University), is a Brown International Advanced Research Institutes (BIARI) alumnus and was the NEH Distinguished Visiting Professor of the Humanities at Colgate University in the USA in 2018-19.
Dr Erica de Greeff
Erica de Greef is a fashion curator, academic and co-founder of the African Fashion Research Institute. She holds a PhD in African Studies from the University of Cape Town, titled ‘Sartorial Disruptions’ that investigated the colonial stasis in South African museums’ fashion collections. She contributed to the development of local fashion curricula, exhibitions and interdisciplinary research. In 2018-2019, Erica led the fashion department at the Zeitz MOCAA in Cape Town. She has published in academic journals and contributed chapters to edited books. She is a board member of the Research Collective for Decolonising Fashion and the International Journal for Fashion Studies.
Queezy is a multidisciplinary artist bridging the intersections of fine art, fashion, and performance. From printmaking and videography to drag performances and DJ sets, QUEEZY creates immersive worlds, where fantasy meets the radical subversion of the status quo. At once theatrical and personal, Heneke’s works upend and expand what it means to be queer and coloured in South Africa, subverting constructions of masculinity, sexuality, and corporeality. Salient themes of gendered norms and identity politics are met with craftsmanship and authenticity, generating artworks which are as aesthetically engaging as they are socially engaged. Ultimately, Queezy aims to create interactive experiences where normativity gives way to spaces for protest, empowerment, and celebration. Queezy attended Belgravia art school where they received training in pottery, painting, sculpture, and graphic design. After high school, they attended Cape Peninsula University of Technology, where they were awarded a BTech in Fashion Design with a distinction in specialized clothing technology.
Queezy has created performances for Gallery MOMO, World Art Gallery, Goodman Gallery, Zeitz MOCAA and Norval Foundation.
Recently the University of Cape Town has acquired Queezys work “Thandi” (Digital Collage print) for their permanent archive which is showcased in the Bremner Building foyer.
Jade Nair is a project manager at the University of Cape Town’s Centre for Curating the Archive. She has been part of the Centre since 2013 and been involved in various curatorial, archival and research projects including exhibitions, documentaries and digital archives dealing with political history, queer archives and the clothing and textile industry. Much of her work has been centred on the afterlife of apartheid in the form of land restitution and the effects of South Africa’s socio-economic structure on vulnerable populations. Having grown up in Cape Town, the history and heritage of the Western Cape is a significant part of her research. She holds a BA honours degree in curatorship from the University of Cape Town.