STEVENSON, Cape Town, South Africa
29 May 2014 - 12 Jul 2014


MAWANDE KA ZENZILE Now I become death the destroyer of the world 2014 Cow dung, oil on canvas 50 x 50cm, courtesy: STVENSON Gallery

STEVENSON CAPE TOWN announces Mawande Ka Zenzile’s first solo show with the gallery.

Central to Ka Zenzile’s practice is the idea of the found object. The ‘object’, however, can be anything from a pile of firewood to a supremacist ideology or the image of Batgirl. The show is conceived as a laboratory of ideas, where iconography from low and high culture, historical and contemporary political constellations is forced into dialogue. Mowgli from Disney’s Jungle Book crosses paths with Osama Bin Laden and Saint Sebastian, in an attempt to trace the violence that lies at the core of all these narratives. Recurring motifs are the scarecrow, with its associations of both power and vulnerability, and the boat, which suggests an interest in exploration and travel, as well as its darker counterparts of conquest and slavery.

Ka Zenzile writes:

“My work draws attention to history, politics, colonialism, slavery and migration/immigration. I explore how culture, commerce and institutionalised power determine (or dictate) our lived experience. I’m interested in the rise and fall of ideological, political and cultural systems – those that dictate or those that succumb. In my time I have witnessed the falling of the ‘twin towers’, the lynching of Sudam Hussein, the assassination/execution of Osama Bin Ladin, conflict in the Arabic nations (Egypt, Libya, Lebanon, Sudan, Pakistan, and so on), and the current tension between Russia and Ukraine, the US and other European nations/superpowers.”

The exhibition will include sculpture, painting and photography. On the opening night, the artist will execute a new performance.

The exhibition opens on Thursday 29 May 2014, from 6 to 8pm.


Ka Zenzile was born in Lady Frere, Eastern Cape, in 1986, and graduated from the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town, where he won the Michaelis Prize in 2013. Previous solo shows have been ‘Crawling Nation at the AVA in 2009 and Autobiography of Mawande Ka Zenzile: Iingcuka ezombethe iimfele zeegusha’ at VANSA, Cape Town, in 2011. Group exhibitions include ‘X Marks the Spot’ at the AVA (2008); Umahluko at Lookout Hill as part of Cape 09; ‘Between the Lines’ at the Michaelis Galleries (2013) and A Sculptural Premise at Stevenson, Cape Town (2013). In 2008 he was awarded a three-month residency in Norway as part of the Abazobi project, organised by the Arkivet Foundation and the Robben Island Museum. Ka Zenzile has been a regular participant in academic conferences including ‘Thinking Africa + Diaspora Differently’ at the Centre for African Studies, University of Cape Town (2011); ‘The Exuberant Project’, Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts, University of Cape Town (2012); and ‘Between the Lines’, organised by Candice Breitz for the Michaelis School of Fine Art and the Hochschule für Bildende Künste Braunschweig (2013). Many of these projects have been accompanied by performances.




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