Mawande ka Zenzile: Archetypocalypse

STEVENSON, Cape Town, South Africa
29 Apr 2017 - 03 Jun 2017

Mawande Ka Zenzile
Sibhala sicima
Cow dung, earth, gesso and oil on canvas
133 x 184cm
© Mawande Ka Zenzile. Courtesy Stevenson, Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Mawande Ka Zenzile Sibhala sicima 2016-2017 Cow dung, earth, gesso and oil on canvas 133 x 184cm © Mawande Ka Zenzile. Courtesy Stevenson, Cape Town and Johannesburg.

STEVENSON presents Archetypocalypse, an exhibition of new work by Mawande Ka Zenzile.

In Archetypocalypse, Ka Zenzile draws a link between politics and perception and explores how this affects the ways in which we understand art. The new body of work shifts deeper into non-representational imagery; here ideologies are sieved and converted into material for the works, and text takes on a greater prominence in the artist’s visual language.

Ka Zenzile continues his rejection of visual schemas or literary conceptual frameworks as access points to his ideas and creativity. He affirms his predominant use of cow dung as painting medium alongside oil paint. His subject matter derives from various sources, including but not limited to his own IsiXhosa modality, questions around ontology, popular imagery as well as socio-political and esoteric knowledge.

He observes that our understanding of art, just like our perception of reality, is continuously dictated by materialist worldviews, dogmatic ideologies, and archetypes, which are circulated throughout western art history. From his disenchantment with dominant worldviews, Ka Zenzile seeks to destabilise the component parts of hegemonic systems of thought, opening the possibility for radical ways of thinking about the hegemonies of perception.

Ka Zenzile stresses that he did not need western art history to arrive at this aesthetic and conceptual position. He says: ‘It’s very complicated to explain the meaning of the artwork, because of the limiting use of common language. The more I use certain terms that are familiar to certain people, or aligned with certain philosophical schools or movements, the more this limits any deeper meaning to that particular way of understanding or perceiving. The process of making art for me is beyond any accepted form of communication, spoken or written languages. And that’s why I make art, to try and convey a certain understanding of life, living, reality and creativity beyond the norm.’

Archetypocalypse is Ka Zenzile’s fourth solo exhibition with the gallery, following Mawande Ka Zenzile at Stevenson Johannesburg in 2016.

The exhibition opens on Saturday 29 April 2017, 10am to 1pm.


Mawande Ka Zenzile was born in Lady Frere, Eastern Cape, in 1986. He is currently completing his MAFA at the Michaelis School of Fine Art. Solo exhibitions have occurred at VANSA, Cape Town (2011); the AVA Gallery (2009). Group exhibitions include I Love You Sugar Kane (2016) and Material Matters: New Art from Africa (2015) at the Institute of Contemporary Art Indian Ocean, Mauritius; Between the Lines at the Michaelis Galleries (2013); and Umahluko at Lookout Hill (as part of Cape 09). Ka Zenzile has been a regular participant in academic conferences including Between the Lines, Michaelis School of Fine Art and Hochschule für Bildende Künste Braunschweig (2013); The Exuberant Project, Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts, University of Cape Town (2012) and Thinking Africa + Diaspora Differently at the Centre for African Studies, University of Cape Town (2011). He won the Tollman Award for Visual Art in 2014 and the Michaelis Prize in 2013.




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