Zandile Tshabalala is a 22-year old Soweto born visual artist and student who is currently in the process of completing her (BA) FINA at the University of Witswatersrand. Zandile is rapidly becoming a household name in the visual arts industry that is known for her niche that not only speaks to her but to other black female bodies out there. She uses acrylic and oil paint to “write new narratives around the roles that black women play in art history.” Her re-representation of the female figure sees her work being inspired by artists like: Kelly James Marshall, Njideka Akunyili-Crosby and Henri Rousseau just to name a few.
“Addressing notions of representation, in particular that of the black woman in
historical paintings, her works seek to challenge the latter through her depictions of an affirmed body and gaze.” – ADA
Zandile has seen a pattern in art history where the black woman is placed in the background, making her seem inferior or marginalized causing her to disappear. She saw the need to re-imagine the black female figure, giving her power, control and her voice back. Zandile places her female figures “within settings that were painted over and over again throughout the history of art.” The only difference now is that in her paintings, the female figure is situated in a powerful position that allows her to be in control over her own narrative and the view that is exchanged between her and the viewer.
Zandile is celebrating the black female figure both in a literal and figurative manner. The literal celebration is through the use of the black color. The female figures skin tones are painted in black, making them standout as the main topic(s) in her work. The figurative celebration is seen through the placement of her figures. “Her dark skinned figures recline on taupe chaise lounges and cloud like cream duvets.”
Alexa, play: “Power to she” by Shekhinah.
it does make me happy when I see more black women leading and creating their own spaces to take up and succeed in.
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