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In Conversation With the Artist

Amanazaretha - The Believers

In Joburg the Zulu nation is normally classified as violent, vulgar, illiterate, security guards, taxi drivers and even some say dirty nation because of their history but Minenkulu views the implication line of this reasoning differently.

Artist: Minenkulu Ngoyi

In Joburg the Zulus are normally classified as violent, vulgar, illiterate, security guards, taxi drivers and even some say dirty nation because of their history but Minenkulu views the implication line of this reasoning differently.

In his recent body of work ‘Ingxoxo Ya Makholwa’ – Conversation of the believers, Minenkulu renders a calm sense of integrity, a mutable conversation and a dignified postures of figures as if birds are in a conference hosted by the invisible angels. The atmosphere is simple but yet invites the viewer to witness the embodiment of a religious presence in a humanly form.

Through his innovative discovery of the charcoal-monoprint printmaking technique, Minenkulu communicates his subject matter with a soft tonal touché in charcoal. His theme is informed by the Christian dominance in the Shembe Community also known as Amanazaretha and their lifestyle.

It is evident from the white classically draped garment worn by bare-footed figures in his work that they give a different image from the widely accepted assumptions about the Zulu nation. The figures appear to be in heaven on earth in that they look pure but dirty on their feet.

‘From afar, the Amanazaretha look like a flock of chickens in a farm. I am inspired by the flat Transvaal landscape which makes my figures appear as if they are on a theatre stage’ says Minenkulu Ngoyi in the interview.

His creative eye has captured the soft movement, the calmness of visual appearance and a religious humour of the people. The recurrence of lines which outlines the form suggests the depth and resonance of a religious feeling and their sculptural weight of their presence.

Text by: Khehla Chepape Makgato
July 2011
Newtown, Joburg.

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