Today, Zeitz MOCAA announces a two-day symposium to take place on Friday, 8th and Saturday, 9 July 2022, centred on the work of prolific South African multimedia artist Tracey Rose, titled Shouting Down Babylon: A Symposium Celebrating the Work of Tracey Rose.
The symposium is an in-depth examination of Rose’s work and creates a space for reflection and theoretical articulation. The two-day programme will include critical discourse and performative interventions facilitated by local and international thinkers, as well as the launch of a monograph on Rose’s work.
Says Koyo Kouoh, Executive Director and Chief Curator at Zeitz MOCAA: “We’re excited to be expanding the dialogue of Tracey Rose’s exhibition with this symposium. Rose’s work sparks critical conversations that impact and has shaped South Africa’s DNA, and asks us to ponder on these themes that make up who we are.”
Earlier this year, Zeitz MOCAA opened Rose’s large-scale retrospective Shooting Down Babylon, which runs until Sunday, 28 August 2022. The exhibition features thought-provoking work that investigates post-apartheid legacies and liberation movements, and uses the body – often Rose’s own – as a site for protest, outrage, resistance and pertinent discourse. For the artist, the body is a channel for the demonstration of exasperation, aggravation, disruption and paradox.
“The exhibition’s title derives from an iconic installation Shooting Down Babylon (The Art of War) (2016), which reflects on varied exorcist, birthing and resistance rituals. For Rose, Babylon is synonymous with the Roman Empire, a long-standing, complex regime that can be said to still exist in multifarious oppressive forms today,” adds Kouoh.
Zeitz MOCAA will also take the opportunity to launch the first major monograph on Tracey Rose during the event on Friday, 8 July. The book includes contributions by Adrienne Edwards, Christine Eyene, Gabi Ngcobo, Kellie Jones, Khwezi Gule, Koyo Kouoh, Kristine Stiles, Renaud Proch, Sean O’Toole, Simon Njami, Tandazani Dhlakama, Tracy Murinik and Zen Marie.

The 480-page monograph will expand on significant themes in Rose’s work, including absurdity, spirituality, post-coloniality, gender, sexuality, race and the body while simultaneously reflecting on the materiality and tension inherent in her work. All of the symposium participants are contributors to Rose’s monograph or have collaborated on various projects with her in significant ways over the years. The book will be available for purchase on the day with the artist present for signings.
The first day’s programme includes a performance by Masello Motana & the Vocal Museum, presented by Chimurenga in collaboration with Zeitz MOCAA and held at Chimurenga Factory from 8.30 pm. This sonic documentary is an activation of the Azanian songbook by singer-satirist, actress and performance artist Masello Motana, backed by a live band that includes Sibusiso Mkhize (vocals), Sibusiso Dlamini (keys), Bongani Nikelo (bass), Kegorogile Makgatle (drums).
Shouting Down Babylon: A Symposium Celebrating the Work of Tracey Rose takes place on Friday, 8 July from 9.30 am to late and Saturday, 9 July from 9.30 am to 6.15 pm. To register for the event, please click here. To attend the live performance at Chimurenga Factory, please click here.

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