In his debut solo exhibition Lwando Dlamini explores themes surrounding the ability of individuals to emerge triumphantly from adversity.
For some time Dlamini has immersed himself in the writings of acclaimed authors – South African Zakes Mda and Nigerian Chimamanda Ngozi as well as Canadian clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson, who all speak at length about this human capacity.
These writers and academics have contributed to the development of his visual language along with the inspiration and teachings of his mentors and fellow artists David Koloane and Patrick Mautloa.
The subject and themes of violence have always fascinated Dlamini.
When he was in primary school he was bullied extensively and to this effect he asked his mother to join a local Karate Dojo where he grew up in Philippi, Cape Town. He pursued karate for almost ten years, which grounded and taught him the art of self-discipline and focus from a young age.
He describes himself as a pacifist by nature, but because he had been subjected to violence on a recurring basis his expressive compositions and avid use of paint and colour reflect this history.
Dlamini’s very personal experience of violence and trauma has ignited an interest in the mystery of the human body and its ability to resuscitate itself.
During a prolonged coma aged 10, doctors told his mother that they would need to switch off life support because his body was not
responding at all and that he was deteriorating day by day.
However, he regained consciousness but was left completely paralyzed and had to relearn the most basic of human functions.
Dlamini also recalls the traumatic experience of being attacked by South African Police when he was 20 years old and left for dead. To this day, nobody knows how he got to hospital but on arrival, he was unconscious, and doctors referred to him as John Doe.
He states that when he paints, he creates fictional characters who are in search for survival, turning away from death and obscurity just as he did.
These are nameless John Does finding themselves between their destruction and TRIUMPH.
See more of his work here.
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