Billie Zangewa, in my solitude, 2018. Courtesy of the artist + Lehmann Maupin
Finding moments of joy at home.
Seeing the figure in Billie Zangewa’s in my solitude captured for eternity in a state of rest has affected me greatly. The main protagonist is shown reading a book, so entranced by the words on the page that she is unaware that I am voyeuristically looking into her home and taking pleasure in her simple act of resting and reading. Wearing a gown, she is perfectly at peace on her couch. To others it may seem like an otherwise banal or domestic scene, but to me, Zangewa has transformed the ordinary and everyday living space into a fantastic tapestry. Sewing together silk off-cuts to create this image is a slow method of making that requires time and patience. This practice, like the woman shown in the tapestry, is disconnected from the fast pace that defines contemporary life. It is a poetic engagement with the subject matter of rest and balance.
This intimate space that the artist has captured is perfectly furnished with tropical plants, a console, a reflective table, and a pot of (fresh) coffee brewing in the background. This work gives me room to reimagine my interactions with work and embrace the slow and satisfying.
Zangewa’s oeuvre has explored narratives of ease and the concept of a home's ability to nurture and shield. This act of sitting down to read a book is a quiet revolution that I have opted into. The solitary figure in the work reminds me of my favourite time of the day, the fresh early mornings, when everything is quiet. The slow, meaningful moments I get to spend with myself before the world begins to stir. Even if I have nowhere to be and nothing to do, I wake up at first light to savour these still, early morning moments.