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Poet Profile: Christie van Zyl /FossilSoul

Christie van Zyl | Sep 4th, 2020 | poet profile | No Comments

FossilSoul, formally known as Christie van Zyl, is a published written and spoken word poet, social entrepreneur, indigenous wellness consultant and sangoma (traditional healer).

Her work as an artivist has seen her write in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity expression, as well as
broader topics covering intersectional & plural identities. She has travelled to perform at the LOOK3 Festival of the Photo in Charlottesville, USA, the Ba Re Ne E Ne Re Literary Festival in Lesotho. As well as attended a cultural exchange residency titled #VACEP (Visual and Cultural Exchange
Program) with Inkanyiso Media and Kunstplaas [10] Gallery in Oslo, Norway. Her poem ‘Ode to the Young Black Lesbian’ was a best seller during the exhibition, selling ten visual representations of the poem printed onto a scroll paper.

FossilSoul has worked with Professor Zanele Muholi writing commissioned poetry pieces for their lifetime photography projects ‘Faces and Phases’, as well as ‘Somnyama Ngonyama’. FossilSoul’s work has been published on several online platforms, as well as an anthology titled ‘Walking the
Tightrope: An African LGBTI Anthology’ and most recently in the “Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness” book, published by Aperture and released in October 2018.


During 2018 she was also featured alongside emerging artists in the exhibitions ‘The Devil Loves When We Loathe Ourselves’ which opened at 99 Loop Gallery in August 2018, curated by painter Rory Emmet. As well Buhlebezwe Siwani’s exhibition ‘Qab’Imbola’, which featured a video titled
‘Amahubo’ with a backtrack of FossilSoul reciting a poem titled ‘Sizokhungwa Ngani?’ commenting on land, religion and spirituality in the African context, this exhibition opened in October 2018 at the
WhatIfTheWorld Gallery in Cape Town.


Christie’s most recent ventures saw her working with Vogue Ukraine where her poem ‘Dudlu Ntomb’Emnyama’ was used over a fashion video piece by director Ina Lekiewicz. During 2019 FossilSoul also started her own community-based show titled ‘Ubunzulu Bombongo’, where she
performed the works that span her ten-year career alongside percussionist Thando Feni, and visual artist Themba Mkhangeli. A live chalk drawing of the performance was auctioned, and the proceeds donated to Mkhulise Foundation, a charity that provides school uniforms and cosmetics to rural
schools. Christie was recently published in the UK based Unpolished Magazine for an article speaking about her journey as a South African traditional healer. She is currently working on a public art heritage project titled ‘Whose Heritage Matters’, hosted by Greatmore Studios and the
University of Cape Town’s African Centre for Cities, commenting on tangible and intangible heritages in creating inclusive cities.

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