Siwa Mgoboza born 1993 in Cape Town is currently completing his final year in a BA Fine Art, majoring in Painting, at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, UCT. Having been raised in abroad for most of his life, the work of Mgoboza deals with the exploration of the globalized African sense of self, a Western upbringing and the liminal space where these identities exist. The work examines the construction of identity and tangled relationship between Africa and the West and their respective histories. Mgoboza describes himself as a ‘post post-colonial’ hybrid, questioning the meaning of culture and national definitions.
“Ishweshwe reflects a story of trade and cultural interchanges across the continent, of indigenization, cultural revitalization and re-appropriation. The history of wax printed material is a history of colonial trade that saw material culture trafficked through imperial powers to their colonial subjects. As with most things that come with hybridity, the material speaks of the colonial trade route whose conclusion is integral to a particular sense of African identity after liberation from colonial authority. I imagine a world ‘post post colonialism’ called AFRICARDIA, a future land. I imagine its physical landscape, the people who inhabit it, the animal life essentially the most extreme form of hybridization. A fusion. Nature and humans live side by side peacefully. Based on the Arcadian paintings of Henri Rousseau, and Afro-Futurism, the ‘world’ of difference does not exist and hybridity is being taken to a new sense of boundless subjectivity.
I am interested in re-imagining objects, bodies and landscapes that are constructed to immerse us in the logic of another place, an imagined reality. For futures to exist, the future must be conceived through revision, looking back. The present must understood as a transitional or as a rite of passage, a process of evolving. I express modes of transformation and shifts through the broken and cut and re-assembled. I have adopted visual abstraction and its intensity to purposefully revolt and to evoke feelings of discomfort or disturbance of the eye. The work is centered in the celebration of my African culture, the grotesque and carnivalesque are brought to the fore. I was taught a very narrow-sided version of my history. The celebration of my roots is prompted through the usage of colour and pattern, they are juxtaposed to create ‘hyper-visible’ and aesthetically stimulating visuals. I celebrate this notion of my African culture and I find ways to visualize the celebration through creating work that transports one to another dimension.”