‘We have been conditioned to believe in illusions’: A Q&A with Mawande Ka Zenzile

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'Ascended Masters', 2020. Cow dung, oil paint and gesso on canvas. 20 panels, 40 x 40cm each. (© Mawande Ka Zenzile. Courtesy of Stevenson, Cape Town. Photography Mario Todeschini )
'Ascended Masters', 2020. Cow dung, oil paint and gesso on canvas. 20 panels, 40 x 40cm each. (© Mawande Ka Zenzile. Courtesy of Stevenson, Cape Town. Photography Mario Todeschini )

Mawande Ka Zenzile's monograph, Uhambo Luyazilawula encompasses over five years of work, up to and including the artist’s 2020 exhibition Udludlilali. Edited by Stevenson gallery’s  Sinazo Chiya, the volume features essays by Nkule Mabaso, Nomusa Makhubu and Kabelo Malatsie. For the monograph’s launch Sinazo Chiya sat in conversation with the artist as well as contributors of the book, Malatsie and Makhubu. The conversation was then transcribed. Below are parts of the transcript, which have been edited for length.

Sinazo: Mawande, why did you choose the writers you’ve chosen for this volume?

Mawande: It’s people that I worked with in the past. I trust them with my work. I trust their intelligence and these are the people that could possibly have access into the work. It’s not something that I planned or sat down and said I want to work with these people. They just came about. They just surfaced like my work surfaces. 

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