Khanyisile Mawhayi (b. 1998) is an artist, art writer and curator from Kagiso which lies on the west rand of Johannesburg, South Africa. She obtained her BA Fine Arts degree from the university of the Witwatersrand in 2020. She works mostly in photography, printmaking, and painting and her work explores notions of absence and presence of familial figures. She questions the family archive, or lack thereof, and how one begins to make sense of their past without oral, written, or photographic archives. She has shown her work at the 4th edition of the BLVCK BLOCK (2019) group exhibition and she also co- curated their 2020 exhibition Sphere. Her work was also included in the 2020/21 Kampala Biennale in Tracey Rose's studio titled Rock Starra as well as in also also also and and and (2020), an online group exhibition hosted by the Institute for Creative Arts, University of Cape Town. Artist Statement: Khanyisile Mawhayi’s current series looks at the archives, or lack thereof, of her family. She questions how one remembers when there are few oral, written and visual archives to rely on. She also looks at how relationships are affected by the absence and presence of certain familial figures. In the past, her work was a reflection of society and how it perceives young Black women. There is always an inclusion of female bodies in her work, usually her own. Sometimes other people’s bodies become her focal point and oftentimes the work involves a performance of femininity, of culture and of strength. Her work is about the desire to belong but always feeling out of place because of internal factors such as her own insecurities and feeling undeserving of a seat at the table. She also considers external factors such as how institutions have historically been established to exclude people like her. In response to these exclusions, she establishes online spaces such as the Instagram page @zeitsmoccary, to counter the effects of the age-old institutions that she critiques. Mawhayi is inspired by both art history and popular culture as well as her firsthand experiences. Colour plays an integral role in her work, it is what she uses to grab the eye of the viewer and keep them looking. She hopes that the candid and honest reflection in her work encourages the viewer to ponder on their own actions and helps them not to feel alone.
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