Part 1 of 2 : In Conversation with Simphiwe Ndzube - South Africa
Ndzube’s work is a joy in sadness — that allows for greater wonder. It’s beautiful, captivating and imaginative with a surreal narrative structure. He finds beauty an interesting phenomenon and a rather strange human practice. Some of the themes he explore in his work include violence, black subjugation, disability, migrations, exploitation, beauty, consumption and history. Some of these concepts have also filtered through the materials he is drawn to such as bandages, sjambok, found waste bins, duct tape, latex gloves, synthetic afro hair, found clothes and so forth.
His pieces are large-scale, mixed-media collages, featuring grotesque, headless figures in banal clothes sprouting arms, light bulbs, and traffic cones out of their necks while slumping around colorfully abstract dreamscapes. Often, the figures become three-dimensional and the cones and clothes are made from found objects. He say the objects have the potential to tell stories beyond what he can sometimes do; their residue use and their patina often reveal a whole history of cultural exchange and how much more interconnected our world is than we may think.
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