• 15 September 2023 - 08 October 2023
  • Main Gallery, Mezzanine Gallery, Park Gallery

Sakhile Mhlongo's life story serves as the launching element for this solo exhibition exploring his artistic practice, upbringing, and identity through portraiture.

 

In Ukwembulwa (The Unearthing), the artist touches on themes of the representation of the Black body, drawing from his own experience by redefining his appearance and mannerisms. Mhlongo began deconstructing colourism as a motif with this study, attempting to redefine the usage of the Black body as domestic orientalism.

 

Mhlongo showcases large-scale artworks exploring personal unspoken experiences through realistic portraits of himself, his family, and friends.

 

The work challenges the tradition of memorialising Black bodies with monochromatic drawings, vividly posed pictures, and hauntingly beautiful self-portraits. Some of his earlier paintings feature repurposed curtain fabrics with a vibrant colour scheme, created with acrylic and enamel paint layers on canvas.

 

The artist felt a balance and harmony when he reunited with his mother and when he underwent a spiritual conversion to Christianity, which he compared to the honeycomb and blossoms of life in his artworks.


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