World of Zulu, New Orleans 2017-18

"Zulu material culture often signifies a broader Africanness, which offers an opportunity to see culture as mutable, rather than "pure" and fixed"

- Siopis, 2018

First shown on Prospect4 the New Orleans triennial – in an exhibition titled The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp, Siopis’ installation ‘World of Zulu’ is a site-specific work combining found objects from both South Africa and New Orleans. The ‘World of Zulu’ installation explores ‘Zuluness’ and its transformations in both Africa and its Diaspora.

Objects include the African knobkierie – a weapon in its own right as well as an object of African resistance to colonial rule; the makarapas: hard hats collected by the artist in Johannsburg, transformed by soccer fans into decorative headgear for local football clubs; urban materials appropriated into Zulu sandals as well as coconut throws collected in New Orleans assosciated with the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club.

Positioned within the display of objects as part of the installation was the artists film ‘Welcome Visitors!’ which uses montage techniques to combine found footage – anonymous home movies of the sixties and some media sequences of Louis Armstrong’s (a member of the Zulu Social and Pleasure Club) visit to Africa, including Zimbabwe – the home of the original composer of the African piece of music Skokiaan later performed by many musicians all over the world, including Armstrong.