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KUSA KUSA (article first published : 2003-01-31)

An exhibition of sculptures and painting by Memorial Mnguni and Sfiso Mabanga. This collaboration has been spearheaded by the relationship between these two artists from Mtubatuba in Zululand. Memorial specialises in sculptural work while Sfiso specialises in paintings.

Memorial Mnguni is a self taught artist and art teacher who concentrates on her sculptural work during her spare time. At the age of eight, her grandmother taught her how to make a Zulu doll using clay and that was the beginning of her interest in art. In 1972 she met George Msimang, a Durban based artist, who became her mentor. She has received tremendous encouragement from her family, especially from her father who is a sculptor and a builder.

Memorial gets her inspiration from working in the countryside, where she teaches art to school children at Siyaqala High School. I enjoy working with children because I also learnt from them, especially about their knowledge about the country life and Zulu tradition. It is pleasant to see them discovering their talents in art says Memorial. These school children work with her at her house during weekends and school holidays and they also hold group exhibitions together.

Her work is mostly about women in different situations. She uses clay when doing her work, which she mixes with ground coal and sometimes with paper mache.

In 1992 she was selected by the Department of Education and Culture to be trained as an art teacher at Eshowe College of Education. She has used her vast knowledge to educate and stimulate young and upcoming artists in the field of art. She has exhibited her work in and around Durban, where she has participated in the group exhibitions.

Sfiso Mabanga started painting in 1998 while doing grade nine at Mfolozi High School under a guidance of an art teacher, Kuben Pillay. He was very fascinated by his landscape paintings and later learnt about other painters who used bright colours like Trevor Makhoba and George Msimang. He has also been inspired by semi-urban environment and African Renaissance.

Sfiso’s work conveys the message of happiness based on self identity, like the work entitled Ngiyaziphekela meaning I have no wife to cook for myself. He also paints about his sad experiences like Trust is earned which he painted after a man promised to pay for his registration fee and never kept his promise. Sfiso uses acrylic paint because of its qualities to dry quickly and its affordability.




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