top of page

Someone, with Sakhile Mhlongo

This exhibition is a collaborative exploration of identity and anonymity, the public and private. While the portraits show resemblance to a specific person, the figures are faceless, stripped of regular identifying features; they are unknown or of an unspecified person. This can be seen as representations of the public and private, with our personal image only being created when we move out of our personal space. The portraits represent a stereotyped view of young, African men and women, as aggressive and submissive respectively.

Sakhile usually works on floral upholstery, as apposed to canvas, contrasting the image of the antagonistic male. This adds to the play between public and private spaces, with upholstery being used for home furniture, private, and the masculine public environment. Nakedness is a state experienced in private; conceptually it can be seen as a position of weakness, which harks back to gender roles and the position of the feminine. Private space can also be gendered as female.  The choice to paint straight onto the gallery walls, references public murals, usually painted in public environments, again creating a dynamic between public and private spaces.

bottom of page