Sunday, November 26, 2006

Three Artists in Symbolic Discourse by Zenzele Chulu

Image: Zenzele Chulu | Will Power

Three Artists in Symbolic Discourse
By Zenzele Chulu from Zambia

The Bag Factory Artists Studios, situated along Mahlatini street in Newtown, Johannesburg is hosting the KOPANO Residency, an artistic discourse between three artists under the banner `Revival of African Traditions`. Participating artists include Zambia`s Zenzele Chulu,

Sikhulile Sibanda from Zimbabwe and South Africa`s Madi Phala. An assortment of their collective works produced during the duration of their residence period, which begun from April to June are on display. A concurrent exhibition which is running between 14th to 22th

June 2005 was also christened `The Revival of African Traditions` - a theme, which is reflected visibly on the works of art showcased.

Artistic contents depicted on canvas and myriad sculptures, bear traditional infuences though expressed from a contemporary context. Zenzele`s works portray ancestral codes called schematic tantrums, inspired from the ancient first ever rock galleries on earth, while

Sikhulile`s sculptural expressions in metal - tell a story of joyful childhood experiences prevalent in typical African settings.And notwithstanding evident traces of being similar to rock art, her oil colour prints further depict human figures in flight. The Herdboyz,

signed by Madi Phala, is a colourful yet abstract imagery ot cattle-raring tradition and its related myths.

common threads

A flicker of professional camaraderie can be discerned from the use of the name KOPANO, which supposedly symbolizes the artistic re-connection of Madi, Sikhulile and Zenzele`s cultural elements, attributed to the common threads inherent in their Bantu and San

heritage. Their creative discourse and collaboration, nurtured during the residency has further spawned an artistic-inclined sense of belonging - thanks to their mutual and strong historical bond. -

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