The Menzi Mchunu Gallery at the BAT Centre in Durban’s small craft harbour is hosting the Umhlabelo exhibition from Tuesday, June 30 at 6 pm.
This exhibition comprises the work of five Durban-based visual artists – Major Ndlovu, Andile Maphumulo, Khulekani Mkhize, Nhlakanipho Mkhize and Mthobisi Maphumulo – who are members of the group Amasosha (a Zulu word that means soldiers, people who have patience and courage).
The aim of this group is to shape each other in terms of ideas, share skills in the construction of their work and to make art that can have a dialog with the audience of different cultures.
The title of the exhibition Umhlabelo is a Zulu word with two meanings – it is a Zulu medicine that you drink to fix a broken bone and also can be described as a sacrifice. In South Africa we are in a time where we are fixing the residues of our colonial past and through that process of fixing, there are so many sacrifices and offerings to make.
“The works you will see in this exhibition are a reflection of our communities today and role played by the past to shape our reactions on things and our presentation in our society,” says Fortune Bengu, spokesman for the gallery.
Mthobisi Maphumulo was born in 1988 September 9 at IMfume (southcost). He said: “When I was at school I wanted to study art but I was encouraged to study electrical engineering. I dropped out after two years to pursue my passion for art.”
His work takes a critical look at the social construction of our communities. He is also interested in unpacking inhumane processes involved in the construction and socialisation of human stratification from lower class to the upper class. Through his work, he also revisits the colonial history as a point of reference in order to challenge the residue of the colonial past because he feels it still infringes majorly in our present life.
Umhlabelo runs until July 31. The Menzi Mchunu Gallery is open from Monday to Friday between 9 am and 4 pm. Entrance is free.