The Archives and Exhibition Centre of Nelson Mandela University presents Compl [y,x]: The Gender Debate. This debate, which highlights  gender in relation to Mandela, is a supplement to the [Provoke/Ukuchukumisa/Daag-Uit] exhibition that took place earlier this year and formed part of the University’s Mandela Centenary Celebrations, as well as the Dalibhunga: This Time? That Mandela? colloquium.

Kindly refer to the [Provoke/Ukuchukumisa/Daag-Uit] exhibition catalogue available on this page and continue reading for more information on the Compl [y,x] exhibition that inspired The Gender Debate to be held on 23 August 2019 at Nelson Mandela University.

Compl [y,x]: Mandela and Gender

This exhibit explores three-dimensional gender symbols made of beads, and offers the possibility of including them in the university’s institutional identity. It is a call to adopt gender advocacy as an institutional value and culture. The use of gender symbolism and its integration into our institutional branding (identity), highlights the stance of advocacy against gender-based violence and the commitment to contribute towards a body of knowledge by transforming the institution.

The title Compl [y,x] plays on the words comply, which means to act in accordance with or meet certain standards, and complex, which means to be composed of two or more parts or many interconnected parts. The composition of the y and x in brackets plays on the biological typology of gender. This word seeks to create an inclusive term that disturbs cis-gender compliance in a gender-complex society.

Finally, the depiction of gender fluidity through three symbols that portray the complexity of gender expression is a part of a larger body of work aimed at normalising the conversation around gender fluidity.