Zamani makhanya post democratic identity art in south africa
In my final year of my BFA my theme I worked on was “Japanese Erotica (Kamasutra)” – I received a scholarship to study in Japan but later rejected it because one of its conditions was that I was going to learn and study the MFA in Japanese.
I produce paintings that are South African and refuse to allow any prescription on which manner I ought to work as a “Black South African”.
Oil painting is no longer a language of the oppressor if one looks at Black artists who have excelled in this medium like George Pemba, Gerard Sekoto, Gerard Bhengu and many contemporary artists.
Whether it is a tree in a landscape or a building that I paint- I always paint not how it is naturally but “what the thing painted could never be” (Hokusai , a Japanese printmaker on ‘Ornament’).
In each painting I create, I always try to push the boundaries of the medium in order to exploit its peculiar qualities.
Painting itself being associated broadly with Western Art production.
A ‘language’ of the oppressor as it were, yet having had first-hand experience at the hands of Apartheid, you still feel comfortable working in this vein, in this country. DM: Thanks, Luan, for your encouraging remarks about my paintings.
The reasons I choose painting and landscape painting is because I love it first and secondly we had our first formal art lessons at a Fine Art Department run by two white males – an English man and a German man.
They never made us feel different from students at historically white universities.
They encouraged us to express ourselves freely and we grew to hate any prescription or restriction on what you as an artist must do.
We saw them exercise their freedom of expression in the paintings they produced and they encouraged us to do the same.
I have always been intrigued by water as a calm material yet with a potential to become extremely violent.