This article offers a critical reading of a
number of artworks by Avitha Sooful, mainly
dating from the period 1980 to 2004.
Readings of other relevant works that illustrate
either continuities or disjunctures with her
artistic practices and world views are included.
This is part of a larger study that investigated
the constructs of identity, place and
displacement in the artworks of female artists
who were employed at Vaal University of
Technology (VUT) during that time.1 The first
ten years of democracy and transformation
in South Africa tacitly underpin the scope of
the article, which focuses on Sooful’s cultural
exchange and interchange with the changing
political and social realities in a new South
Africa. The theoretical underpinnings of this
article are embedded in the discourses of
geographically and historically specific events
in South Africa, and cultural studies theories.
They are framed by postcolonial readings of
identity, place and displacement. The artist’s
work is used to demonstrate how her subject
position inspired her to produce artworks that
reconfigured the local Durban and Free State
regions over the 20 years concerned.