New painting by Ayanda Mabulu
A group exhibition titled Our Fathers is currently showing at the AVA in Cape Town — my neighbour gallery here in Cape Town. Of the 25 esteemed artists on show, four of them, Ayanda Mabulu, Khayalethu Witbooi, Dale Yudelman and Zolani Siphungela have exhibited at Worldart recently. Mabulu is scheduled to have another solo show at Worldart opening on 8 November 2012.
Our Fathers is curated by Kirsty Cockerill and Chantal Louw and is an inspired, varied and diverse collection of work – most of them reflecting the universal, familiar theme in poignant ways.
One of the paintings on show is a work by Ayanda Mabulu pictured above. In a complex society like South Africa’s it will always be risky to exhibit a work like this. There are good reasons to refrain from doing so — but there are probably just as many to do exactly the opposite.
The artist’s statement is a good starting point to this debate:
“I’m not motivated by an urge to unpack Jacob Zuma’s sex life. That is not my concern or interest. The painting depicting Jacob Zuma is a respectful one. He is clothed in his culture. He is clothed in his manhood.
Only a Eurocentric view point would see him as naked. He is not naked; I did not paint him with an uncircumcised penis. This is a metaphor that shows he is not a boy; he is a man, an elder, a father, a leader. An elder who happens to be the president of South Africa. He is a representative of the ANC, which as a political party from my perspective, now represents its own interests, and less so, the interests of the / and his people, his children. In this painting I’m engaging my elder, in the language of my mother tongue, the language that carries the culture of my people, a language he understands the most.
Through this painting I respectfully, as one of his children, ask my father why he is starving us. Why he is negating his duties to his children, the citizens of South Africa?
I respect the ANC liberation elders, like Oliver Thambo and John Langalibalele Dube. They worked for the interests of the people. This ANC is filled with greed and the lust of capitalism. It drives a colonial dialogue. The ANC that you represent is the master manipulator, the weapon of destruction.
When you call me a protest painter, you are insinuating I can’t communicate in a civilised manner. You are reacting defensively; you are saying you are being attacked. I’m not attacking you; I’m respectfully asking a question. When you call me and my people protestors, you are insinuating that we don’t have the intelligence to converse with a man or men of your status. The text on the painting, says 1976 uprising – 2012, because the uprising continues. This painting is not political it is social. I dedicate this painting to the miners who were massacred at the Lonmin mine.
The question I ask in this painting is why; Umshini Wam has become Umkhonto Ugwaza Ekhaya (Spear stabbing in the home)? As a son, to a father, I respectively ask you why?“
The painting pictured above is titled Umshini Wam (Weapon of Mass Destruction). The medium is Mixed media on canvas and the size 180cm X 120cm.
Our Fathers will be on show till 23 September 2012. The AVA is located at Church Street, Cape Town.
For any information on Mabulu’s work, contact Charl at Worldart.