Igama lakho elihle.
Site specific installation informed by archival images from the World Council of Churches.

Umlindelo is a Zulu word for a practice that is conducted a night before a burial or a religious/ancestral ceremony. Ukulindela is to await, to take a pause and remain present in a moment by acknowledging the reason for the engagement. During Umlindelo a series of events are performed that are in line with the intention of the ceremony.

During her residency at Embassy of Foreign Artists in Geneva, Mbali will expanded on her masters research, which focused on the etymology of colour in South African Indigenous languages and how African Independent Churches use colour to appropriate Christianity. She spent time studying the archives from the Swiss missionaries that were sent to South Africa to establish churches. The archive is situated at The Ecumenical Centre in Geneva, Switzerland and serves as the base for Church organisations such as the world council of churches. Mbali  submerged herself in the archive and creates a dialogue by staging  umilindelo and inviting the public to Lindela (observe) with her.

Mbali explains her project: “I am drawn to this research by the titles used to describe and label most of the images. The images are generally titled ‘African women/African men‘ with often only the Swiss missionaries named. The project intends to Lindela (dwell) on the titles and use artistic interpretations to rethink and rename the images. Through this process I ask; how do you bring back the image to the owner? How do you retract images recorded and shared publicly without the subject’s consent? What is the significance of these images that exist in colonial archives and museums, outside their country of origin? Can the images be erased? Or rather, how do you reimagine the image and its place in history? These questions will unfold through the series of events performed during Umlindelo.