Project Description

Ruth Kerkham

FSC-Harvard Fellow 2005-06

A doctoral student in History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University, Ruth Kerkham has taught studio art and art history in South Africa and Canada, and has published a number of articles and exhibition reviews on Canadian, South African and Zambian visual culture and performance. She is currently living in Zambia where she is conducting dissertation research and producing a documentary film entitled Tisangalale!, which means, “Let’s celebrate!” in Nyanja. This documentary explores the significant increase of formally recognized annual cultural ceremonies in Zambia since the country’s shift from a one-party state to multi-party democracy in 1991. It complicates the notion of public cultural celebration by considering the less disclosed aspects of these ceremonies, such as ritual communion with the ancestors, and performative parallels between chief’s ceremonies and royal funerals. Tisanagalale! includes the views of cultural enthusiasts, performers, traditional rulers and politicians, and is based on two years of travel throughout Zambia