For the StateoftheART Gallery Award 2021, we asked artists to find ways to engage with the reality of climate crisis and its impact on their own community; to create work to inspire and encourage societal change. The 10 finalists were chosen from more than 600 submissions from across South Africa, with the judges scoring the artists on the creativity, originality, and technical skill of their entries to this year's Award theme ‘On The Brink, Visualising Climate Change’.
The work of the shortlisted artists will go on show in a special exhibition at StateoftheART’s Cape Town gallery from 16 - 30 October 2021, and the winner announced at the Award Ceremony on 16 October 2021. The winner will receive a R40 000 cash prize and a solo exhibition with the gallery in 2022.
We asked the top ten Gallery Award Finalists some questions to help you get to know them before the Finalists Exhibition in October.
Learn more about the StateoftheART Gallery Award here>>
"All In A Day's Work" by Mfundo Sizwe Ziphozonke Mngomezulu. Archival pigment print on paper 80 x 59cm.
Mfundo Sizwe Ziphozonke Mngomezulu
Mfundo Sizwe Ziphozonke Mngomezulu began his self taught art photography journey in 2011. Passionate about mobile photography and editing, he had no idea that what he was doing was inspiring his journey. With a decent portfolio to show, he earned his first camera, a Canon 1300, and in 2017 he launched his photography career.
A story teller and a poet, Mfundo Sizwe Ziphozonke's skills combine to effortlessly capture the narrative behind a picture - capturing moments in time.
With a passion for abstract art, Mfundo Sizwe Ziphozonke uses his lens in place of a brush - abstracting reality and invoking emotion through composition.
1. Tell us about yourself. Where are you from, and where do you currently live?
I am a self-taught photographer from Richards Bay. And I currently live in Mzingazi, a rural area just outside Richards Bay with plans to relocate to Cape Town soon.
2. How did you learn about the Award and what made you want to enter?
I learned about the StateoftheArt Gallery Award from an artist by the name of Phoka Nyokong. I met him during my three-month visit to Cape Town earlier this year. I entered because I have never seen such an opportunity. It was something I would always imagine getting once I’ve been a well-known artist already. It’s was and still is an opportunity of a lifetime.
3. Tell us about where you make your work.
I work anywhere and everywhere.
4. What is your key inspiration as an artist?
My emotions. I am inspired by how I feel at that very moment. That drives my imagination to create the picture in my mind before I take it.
5. Do you have any rituals or habits involving your art-making that you can tell us about?
Mfundo Sizwe Ziphozonke Mngomezulu.
6. How does your work convey the threat that climate change poses to our planet and country?
My body of work is what we see and do right now in our daily lives. We're adapting and not realising that adapting is not helping but normalising our own earth's slow death. My body of work conveys a wake-up call.
7. How is your work relevant in a South African context?
This is my life. As a proud South African. I have a self-proclaimed duty to tell my story and show what climate change is doing to the spaces am in. I believe my body of work could be a chapter on how South Africa is experiencing climate change.
8. What do you think is the most urgent action required to tackle climate change in South Africa?
Education! We as the people of South Africa need to be educated in knowing how to recycle for example. Learn how to treat the earth with this modern life that we are forced to live.
9. Which South African artists, organisations or environmental activists do you find inspirational at the moment and why?
As I am one of the people that need to be educated. Where I am from there is no artist, organisation nor environmental activist that inspires me. Well, we have Ezemvelo Wildlife but that’s just there for tourism more than making a difference. To be honest the StateoftheART Gallery Award has inspired me. The Award opportunity has made me aware of what I have not been seeing but seeing happen around me.
"Too Many Connections" by Mfundo Sizwe Ziphozonke Mngomezulu. Archival pigment print on paper, 80 x 59cm.
10. How do you feel about the upcoming group exhibition and the other shortlisted finalists’ works?
I am super excited. I have been looking at all the Finalists pages and I am honoured to be amongst these well educated and magnificent artists. I can not wait to learn and grow as an artist. I am happy.
11. What do you think of the StateoftheART Gallery Award as a platform for emerging artists in South Africa?
I think that the StateoftheART Gallery Award is a massive morale boost and a platform an emerging artist dreams about. To have your own creation seen by the world and represented by the StateoftheART Gallery, especially during the pandemic. Unheard of.
12. If you win the Gallery Award, tell us about what you have in mind for your solo exhibition in 2022?
I would like to stay with the theme and show more visual awareness of how we are living. As this opportunity has inspired me I have already begun creating this body of work.
13. Finally, tell us something surprising about yourself.
I do not own a camera.
"Healing Component" by Mfundo Sizwe Ziphozonke Mngomezulu. Archival pigment print on paper, 59 x 80cm.