WOZA MOYA – Exploring the Materiality of Spirituality in an Urban Landscape

Moya is a phrase used to define a spirit, a soul or other presence. Woza Moya is an expression used to summon or call Moya to one’s presence.

Corrugated paths connect piles of sand – remnants of earth peppered throughout the city. Collected and congregated, dimed lights cast shadows on the hallowed ground. Plastic silhouette suits are suspended beyond a transparent membrane as the summer rain trickles down, beyond the white cubic walls.


Initiated by Marie Fricout and Mbali Dhlamini, Woza Moya is a creative conduit in which to explore manifestations of spirituality in Johannesburg. The exhibition emerged from the experimental project space – Goethe on Main in Maboneng – and engages with neighboring areas. The site-specific project locates itself within research as praxis and explores notions of spirituality in an urban space. “The project investigates what spirituality is in the city and how its inhabitants convey it through visuals, sound and performance. Woza Moya invites its audience to engage with experimental elements that mediate spirituality and usher transcendence.”


Surrounding Signs: A Symposium was the second event of the processed-based engagement. It investigated how spirituality manifests itself in the city through different aesthetics. Marie and Mbali’s exploration of the surrounding space had concluded that local stores in the area were in some ways akin to museums – some having survived the last eighty-six years. An institutional epitome of the cityscape. At the heart of their project lies the question, can spirituality be embodied? This challenging inquiry was at the crux of the conversation.

The panelists included photographer, Simangele Kalisa and Emma Monama, a researcher at the African Centre for Migration and Society. Each of which shared their work in relation to the notion of the materiality/non-materiality of spirituality and the relationship between the two seemingly polarized constructs. Spirituality projected and imbued in the physical sphere.  Emma described them as being both complementary and contradictory, operating in a dialectical dynamic. She went on to say that spirituality is the, “pursuit of being” and appears in a spectrum of form and ephemeral reality. The project runs until the 20th of November – continuing with public programming events and an immersive research practice


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