Siwa Mgoboza
SOUTH AFRICA
Siwa Mgoboza (b. 1993) holds a BA in Fine Art from Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town (2015), He was awarded the Eduard Louis Laden Art Bursary (2015), the Cecil Skotnes Award (2015) and the Michaelis Bursary (2012 and 2015). He was named the 2015 Young + African Visual Artist of the Year by Creative Nestlings. Having been raised abroad for most of his life, Mgoboza’s work deals with a globalized African sense of self, a Western upbringing, and the liminal spaces in which these identities exist. Mgoboza exhibited his first solo show at WHATIFTHWORLD Gallery 2016 in Cape Town and his first international solo at Semaphore Gallery I Switzerland. In the same year he was featured at the first edition of AKAA in France, the Lagos Photo Festival in Nigeria, Modern Africa / Rainbow Nation in Turkey, the Nanjing International Arts Festival in China. He has been represented on multiple occasions at at the Cape Town Art Fair, Turbine Art Fair,Joburg Art Fair, and Art Africa Fair. Mgoboza’s work is in several private and public collections including the University of Cape Town, the University of South Africa Permanent Art Collection, the Carnegie Museum, the Laurete International Universities Collection,, Wedge Curatorial Projects, Canada, South Africa, WAM (WITS ARTS MUSEUM) Collection, and BONHÔTE Foundation for Contemporary Art, Switzerland.
Les Etres D’Africadia
In the series ‘Les Etres d’Africadia’, inspired by Pablo Picasso’s ‘Les Demoiselle d’Avignon’ one observes culturally hybrid beings that are indistinguishable from each other in terms of race and gender. Mgoboza sets strips of highly coloured and patterned material alongside each other to create both the costumes for his beings and the settings they find themselves in, flattening the perspective and giving his hybrids and their backgrounds the same visual relevance. The textile Mgoboza uses is a series of patterned cloths originally manufactured in Manchester at the height of the British Empire and later brought to South Africa by German and Swiss settlers. French missionaries presented bales of the cloth to King Moshoeshoe I, ruler of the Sotho. Possibly named for the king, isiSeshweshwe has been used for Sotho traditional wear since the 1840s. The type of indigo dye applied in the printing of the patterns was used as far back as the Bronze Age. At the time of colonial hegemony European states used slave labour to cultivate the Indigofera plant in tropical territories. The production of cotton too, of which the cloth is made, has a history of forced labour and human subjugation. The cloth symbolises shifting identity in a world where now, as then, conquest and domination exist alongside cultural exchange and trade. The series aim to examine the idea of a new body coming to the fore, one that is without labels, instead a hybrid of animal, human and nature. It seeks to address the current social issues of the world the artist experiences and to present an alternative option to the reality we live in. As visual device Mgoboza offers the viewer isiShweshwe as an accepted African signifier, but it is simultaneously reconstituted as a question that undermines its very “Africaness”. By subverting both geographical and gender specific assumptions, Mgoboza opens up alternative readings of what it is to be an Africadian.

The Addis Foto Fest (AFF) was established in 2010 by award-winning photographer and cultural entrepreneur, Aida Muluneh. The festival is organized by Desta for Africa Creative Consulting PLC. AFF is a biennial international photography festival held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It has previously featured exhibitions, portfolio reviews, conferences, projections and film screenings in many different renowned venues. It is also the first and only international photography festival in East Africa.