Mawande Ka Zenzile: Statecraft

STEVENSON, Cape Town, South Africa
16 Apr 2015 - 30 May 2015

Mawande Ka Zenzile: Statecraft

MAWANDE KA ZENZILE Portrait of Saddam 2014 Cow dung, earth, gesso and oil on canvas 85 x 85cm

STEVENSON present Statecraft by Mawande Ka Zenzile, his second solo exhibition with the gallery.

Statecraft follows on from Ka Zenzile’s 2014 exhibition, Experimentation: All Hell Break Loose, which ‘explored how culture, commerce and institutionalised power determine (or dictate) our lived experience’. With this exhibition Ka Zenzile continues his interest in politics, with a particular focus on the construction and destruction of nation states.

Ka Zenzile writes:

In this body of work I use the mediums of painting, sculpture, video and installation to explore themes about the state, morality, death, power, violence, and politics. This exhibition pays homage to the men and women who built the pyramids and those who pioneered the fabric of the politics of our time.

According to Ka Zenzile, various cultural mediums – including literature, music and theatre – have over time served to entrench our belief in particular ideas as ‘truth’, instead of seeing them as well-constructed sets of concepts that have been disseminated to the public for specific political effect.

He says:

I’m fascinated by how the construction, or destruction [of nation states] is facilitated ideologically by the use of images as a form of propaganda, or by political rhetoric, in a world that is affected by geopolitics and capitalism.

Employing familiar imagery sourced from the internet, art history and popular culture, Ka Zenzile’s new body of work provides the viewer with an opportunity to see these images from a different perspective, by taking them out of their usual contexts and assembling them in conversation with each other.


The exhibition opens on Thursday 16 April, from 6 to 8pm.


Ka Zenzile was born in Lady Frere, Eastern Cape, in 1986, and gained a BA Fine Art from Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town in 2014. He won the Tollman Award for Visual Art in 2014 and the Michaelis Prize in 2013. Previous solo exhibitions are Experimentation: All Hell Break Loose at Stevenson, Cape Town (2014); Autobiography of Mawande Ka Zenzile: Iingcuka ezombethe iimfele zeegusha at VANSA, Cape Town (2011) and Crawling Nation at the AVA (2009). Group exhibitions include Chroma at Stevenson, Cape Town (2014); Between the Lines at the Michaelis Galleries (2013); Umahluko at Lookout Hill (as part of Cape 09) and X Marks the Spot at the AVA (2008). In 2014 he completed a residency at Nafasi Art Space, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; he was awarded a residency in Norway in 2008 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 Between the Lines, organised by Candice Breitz for the Michaelis School of Fine Art and the 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). Many of these projects have been accompanied by his performances.





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