• Phumelele Kunene

    Phumelele Kunene
    • Artist Statement
      • A curiosity sparked interest in me wanting to explore why passion, as much as it may drive an individual, is at a non-entity to parents and caregivers and is often sacrificed for the promise of financial stability. This photo series follows a narrative of an aspiring artist balancing the joys of passion and pressures of expectation. The young woman is studying law so as appease her parents and their hopes for her secure future. The imagery reflects on how she navigates the work of her passion and the law career simultaneously. It also seeks to explore the woman’s emotional and mental condition as well as how a part of her is still curious of how her life would have been if given the opportunity to venture into art. I use this story to bring attention to an often disregarded narrative, to use my art to paint a story about another artist.

        It is situations like these that make one realize how our lives don’t only belong to us alone and are shaped by our circumstances, reality and background and these will always be contributing factors to who we are and what we will become.
    • Biography
      • For Phumelele Kunene photography is first and foremost about engagement with the world – “it is my personal vision and interpretation of what I see around me.”

        After honing an eye for the unnoticed, Phumelele completed her studies at the Market Workshop school of Photography in 2014. She now runs her own photography company, Still Imagery, operating in between Johannesburg and Cape Town. She was one of six artists on a group show of Fine Art Photography, titled The Back Light Exhibition, which opened at Michael Meyersfeld Studio in March 2016. This follows her being included in the Curiositas 2016 exhibition at AGOG Gallery and the 9th Annual Joburg Fringe in Sept 2016 at Arts on Main. In April 2018 she participated in the 'Autumn group show' at WorldArt gallery in Cape Town with her series titled Inkosazana Yezulu (Goddess of the Sky).
    • Interview
      • Which new trends or South African artists do you find inspiring at the moment?
        Loyiso Mkize

        Which South African deceased artist do you most admire and why?
        Hugh Masekela. He was more than just a musician but a pan-African activist and a profound individual.

        If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?
        A painting by Jean Michel Basquiat

        How did you get started? Did you always want to be an artist?
        My mother was the one who subconsciously introduced me to art. When I was younger I remember how she loved collecting antique art pieces and pictures. So when I started drawing and painting she would display my work all over the house. This always encouraged and inspired me and is the reason I remain an artist till date.

        What are some of the key themes you explore in your work?

        Self-introspection with a thread of African language and spirituality

        What inspired your latest body of work?
        The history books I have read and the music I listen to.

        Tell us more about your creative process.
        I approach my process of creating imagery as the same process of designing architecture and composing music. I do this so that my work can relate to other people outside the study of photography. Musicians typically use storytelling to educate people and transmit information and beliefs from one generation to another. At times I pick up my camera to photograph something that caught my attention, and I find myself making history. I understand the responsibility to communicate truth within my imagery and to be able to use the medium to explore the same ideas expressed in music.  My work is also influenced by an element of design that an architect would make use of, which is the balance between the spiritual and material aspects of a building, as well as how light can affect the structure and give it a certain personality. Majority of people have photographic memories so when you put an image in their minds and you associate it with a particular feeling, the viewer is able to connect much deeper to the work and that enables them to remember it even long after having seen it. The balance between what they see and what they feel creates a certain harmony. I do not separate my skill or profession from my spirituality and intellectual traditions.

        What drives you as an artist?
        My experiences in life as well as my understanding of how everything in nature is connected

        Do you have a favourite or most meaningful work?

        "In my element"which is a series where I photographed my late mother’s belongings that represent the memories I have of her around the house. The imagery serves as my portraits of her and reveals my attachment and desires of her presence. They are my souvenirs of our memorable events and life experiences.

        What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date? 

        Self-discovery, it’s been the most fulfilling journey.

        What are your aspirations for the future?
        I want to use my passion to build and maintain a solid empire and legacy for my son and his children.
  • Creating - Photography by Phumelele Kunene PHUMELELE KUNENE
    Creating
    Photography / 42 x 30 cm
    $420
  • Shadow - Photography by Phumelele Kunene PHUMELELE KUNENE
    Shadow
    Photography / 42 x 30 cm
    $420
  • Untitled - Photography by Phumelele Kunene PHUMELELE KUNENE
    Untitled
    Photography / 42 x 30 cm
    $420
  • Dejavu - Photography by Phumelele Kunene PHUMELELE KUNENE
    Dejavu
    Photography / 30 x 42 cm
    $420
  • Soul - Photography by Phumelele Kunene PHUMELELE KUNENE
    Soul
    Photography / 30 x 42 cm
    $420