Finding its articulation in the space of intimate narratives, moments, and milestones, KWENZEKILE sits in meditative celebration of — through visual archiving and witnessing — the journey and progress the artist and individual, Sinalo, has endured and moved through. Her testament that indeed, kwenzekile. With works produced in oil pastel on paper, Sinalo’s KWENZEKILE, began with an intention and desire by the artist to visually imagine and create alternate realties for South African women, coloured by a feeling, sense and lines of undulating joy. This desire and intention quickly shifted from wanting to tell a collective story to that of wanting to tell an intimate and personal story rooted in the journey of the Self, however, peppered by an acute knowing that the Self is always implicated in the political. Initially, the idea was to create an alternate reality for South African women but after the first two works were complete, I realised that I wanted to make it more personal. So instead of just speaking about South African women through the work, I wanted to speak about me.
Which is why when I got to the third work, you’ll see it’s full of open doors, which reflect what’s been occurring in this period of my own life, so many doors have been opening. I’m doing things I didn’t think I’d ever be doing and putting that out into the work has become the conceptual grounding for the show. It’s very rooted in me and this journey I’m on right now — how it’s basically growing me, and you’ll see in the work that there are also a lot of things growing outwards. There is a tendency towards the overt — often from an external gaze — politicisation of art created by Black people. A chocking politicisation that transmutes one’s individual creative expression and modality as an artist — who also happens to be Black — into a symbolic sum-total representation of all Black people, and conditions and matters of Blackness. An abstraction of the complicated individual factors that inform the nuances of our humanity. KWENZEKILE by Sinalo works to say: “I can’t be a singular expression of myself, there’s too many parts, too many spaces, too many manifestations, too many lines, too many curves, too many troubles, too many journeys, too many mountains, too many rivers, so many.” Pleasure and the joy of discovery and growth inform Sinalo’s practice in how she locates herself in it, in how she chooses the mediums she will create and experiment with and in what you see as a viewer on the very material space of the works she creates as an artist, as she shares, “When I find a medium that feels like it’s really doing something in terms of what it ignites in me, that’s when I continue to pursue working with it. Painting can feel so constricting and unforgiving, whereas oil pastel is imbued with a sense of joy for me. It makes me feel like a child again, its messiness too.” In this way, pleasure, joy and messiness also become co-creators and companions in the making of KWENZEKILE and in thinking through the material and conceptual sites/sights the works sit in. Like Toni Morrison freeing the individual feeling- thinking-desiring real-life figure of Margaret Garner from the abstractions of dominant historical archives changes how and what we come to know of Garner, how does freeing the individual feeling-thinking-desiring real-life figure of Sinalo, as artist and subject, from abstracting politicisation — with the help of pleasure, joy and messiness — alter how and what we come to know of her?
About Bubblegum Gallery:
Bubblegum Gallery responds to the changing dynamic(s) between the artist, gallery, and the market. We develop artists and facilitate emerging pathways for their growth and trajectory. Through our multifaceted site in Johannesburg, we offer space and resources for artists to create and show work. Emerging out of BubblegumClub, a digital publication and creative agency, Bubblegum Gallery draws from and uses this knowledge to establish alternative, fluid and equitable ways of working with artists and creating value around their practices.
Where: Bubblegum Gallery
Address: Sam Hancock St, Johannesburg, 200 (Transwerke Building at Constitution Hill)
Time: 11:00 - 15:00
When: Saturday November 12, 2022
To book a viewing following the exhibition opening please email: