Township art tribute to women

28 March 2013

TOWNSHIP art was formerly known as the art of defiance, with black artists creating powerful images and drawings as part of their struggle against apartheid.

Soweto artist Mfundo Mkhize, 32, says today's township art has become a representation of "ekasi" but has also become very monotonous.

His current collection is being exhibited at the Nex Dor Restaurant on the historical Vilakazi Street in Orlando West.

He highlights the significance of women in society, focusing on female vendors who sell roasted mielies on street corners.

"In my experience, they make sure that there is a plate of food on the table. The strength and leadership they possess can be seen in the urban environment, the rural hinterlands and the neglected urban townships.

"The artwork focuses  on the lives of these women and is a tribute to the indispensable role they play in society."

Born and raised in Soweto, Mkhize says he draws inspiration from his environment and experiences.

"These pieces are my attempt to illuminate untold struggles to raise generation after generation in our communities."

In one piece, titled Jovendor, Mkhize portrays a woman carrying the Johannesburg skyline on her head like a mielie vendor would carry a brazier. This work is being sold for R5000 and is Mkhize's most expensive yet.

Throughout his artistic career, he says, he has applied the skill of keeping it simple.

His black-and-white collection was created five years ago, using the print-making process. Mkhize is also a multimedia designer and graffiti more