Geometry & the land: Ntsika Dulwana


You can see it hanging there, staring right back at you…a reserved stare. When you experience Ntsika Dulwana’s artworks you begin to understand that they are not only conduits for stories and important conversations but also works of great beauty. 

When people ask me about my favorite visual artists, I can usually string together a few sentences about work that I enjoy or find meaningful. A better understanding of what it is the artist is creating provides more appreciation through clarity and context. 

Then there are those pieces of work which are so moving and impactful that trying to explain why and how doesn’t really do any justice.

I feel this way about these two charcoal drawings by Ntsika Dulwana (among other great pieces which are just as incredible). I don’t want to reduce his work to purely aesthetics, there is a lot of thought and debate specifically about gold as a mineral resource representing the wealth of the land, which in turn should represent the wealth of the people. Izwe Lethu. This question remains relevant in South Africa; having whole cities built on the backs of suffering and unrewarded black bodies who work the land and in turn are quite literally sent to their graves by the numbers. 

The detachment from obvious representation of land into something far more abstract through the use of geometrical shapes makes the work more interesting and opens up a wider scope for conversation. Your first glance does not immediately make that connection, the connection requires a more intent focus and experience of the art. Through this process, the symbolism becomes apparent and the story falls into place. 

You can find Ntsika’s work at Gecko Gallery in newtown…opposite the Market Theatre.

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