Imvo Zabantsundu / The Native Opinion
14 March - 20 April 2013
Commune.1 is proud to present a solo show of poet and artist Ayanda Mabulu’s large-scale paper works and paintings. Best known for his provocative imagery, perhaps most notably his painting spotlighting Zuma’s private parts, this is Mabulu’s most comprehensive show to date and will include paintings that have never before been exhibited.
The title of the exhibition, 'Imvo Zabantsundu / The Native Opinion', is the namesake of the first black South African newspaper published in King William’s Town. It provides an accurate starting point for Mabulu’s outspoken work that aims to create a dialogue around South Africa’s current political and social climate within the frame of post-colonial discourse. More specifically the work employs symbolism and political references that speak of the creation of identity through language, racism, poverty, religion, abuse and the corruption of power.
Mabulu’s paper works have an overt tactility; surfaces are worked and reworked with charcoal, paint, wallpaper, gold-leaf, magazine and newspaper clippings. Their colourful demeanor at a closer look reveals hard-hitting visuals. Poetic declarations of anger and indignation stand sprawled alongside explicit pornographic imagery which all seem to revolve around a primary central figure. The principal figures are figurative depictions- rendered in a stylistic mockery of traditional Western portraiture- that represent specific demographic sections of society while on occasion depict key political figures in South African history: Steve Biko, Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, President Zuma and F.W. de Klerk.
A significant piece in the exhibition is Mabulu’s triptych 'Eve' (2012). Two African woman stand on either side of a stockinged nude, she wears a crown resembling that of the Queen of England and holds in her hand a nibbled on apple. The two figures flagging her each carry a child on their back and aim a revolver at the reclining Toulouse-Lautrecian nude. The gun toter on the left stares directly at the viewer, her gaze both imploring and challenging, perhaps asking permission to pull the trigger; her twin on the far right has no gaze, she has been rendered blind.
Ayanda Mabulu was born in King William’s Town in 1981. He is a self-taught artist and started drawing and painting at a young age. Solo exhibitions have taken place in China at the Chenshia Museum (2011) and 'Un-mute my tongue' at World Art in Cape Town. Recent group exhibitions include 'Our Fathers' at The AVA Gallery (2012), Greatmore Studio Showcase (2012) and the Bag Factory in Johannesburg (2012). Mabulu has taken part in numerous residencies: Greatmore Art Studios (2011-2013), Chenshia Museum in China (2011), Bag Factory Thupelo workshop in Johannesburg.