Remembering Samson Mnisi (1971-2022)
Samson Mnisi was born in 1971 in Lesotho and raised in Soweto. A former member of uMkhonto we Sizwe, Mnisi enrolled in in the academy run by the Federated Union of Black Artists (FUBA) in January 1992, where he studied fine art and photography. In 1996, he held his first solo exhibition at the Market Theatre Gallery in Johannesburg. In the late 90s and early 2000s, he participated in various solo and collaborative exhibitions in New York. His work is included in various collections, including the Museum for African Art, New York.
His painting is characterised by linework and symbolism that draws inspiration from a variety of references, from indigenous languages, Ndebele patterns, and Sotho architecture to modernist abstraction, mathematical systems and ancient cave paintings. His process is informed by ritual; his sculptural work incorporates natural and spiritual elements such as reeds, cloth, pigments, muti and various found objects. ” I am interested in using art as another element of alchemy, where through it you can evoke and even heal certain emotions,” Mnisi said. “I become like an archeologist. So I dig inside me. I find old pieces, ancient things, and then I bring them out to remind myself who I was, who I have been, before I am what I am now.”1Quoted in Kristine Roome, “Samon Mnisi,” Liberated Voices: Contemporary Art from South Africa (Munich: Prestel; Museum for African Art, 1999), p. 117.
According to his family, Mnisi died “peacefully” on Friday, 7 October 2022 at his Johannesburg CBD studio, which doubled also as his home. The day before, Mnisi had opened a solo exhibition, Man of the Hour, at Studio Nxumalo in partnership with Asisebenze Art Atelier.
The National Arts Festival 2023
The National Arts Festival has announced that the call for the 2023 National Arts Festival Curated Programme is open. The Curated Programme is the Festival’s multi-disciplinary offering, selected from proposals submitted by artists locally and abroad. Artists working in performance and public arts, theatre, dance, visual art, music, poetry, illusion, comedy and cross-genre arts mediums are invited to submit their proposals for work to be presented at the Festival between 22 June and 2 July 2023 in the Festival’s home town of Makhanda in the Eastern Cape. Work put forward can be new or previously staged, and proposals from producers on the continent and elsewhere in the world are welcome. The submission process is entirely online and proposals should be submitted by midnight (CAT) on 22 November 2022. Submit a proposal here.
Cinthia Sifa Mulanga and Githan Coopoo honoured as New Wave: Creatives
Johannesburg-based Cintha Sifa Mulanga and Cape Town born and bred Githan Coopoo are two of the “50 most innovative and inspiring young creative talents from around the world” according to the British Fashion Council. This nomination was introduced in 2018 to broaden the spotlight on exceptionally innovative young creatives worldwide, and is a global celebration of the impact their work has had on the industry. Coopoo recently gallery presented The Luxury of Wearing Fakes with Everard Read Cape Town. Mulanga opens her first solo with Goodman Gallery, In the Becoming, this Saturday 15 October in Johannesburg.
William Kentridge at the Royal Academy, London
William Kentridge is the first South African artist to take over the Main Galleries of the Royal Academy. It also marks the biggest exhibition of the artist’s work in the UK, spanning a 40-year-career across etching, drawing, collage, film and sculpture to tapestry, theatre, opera, dance and music. On until 11 December. Book here.