Homage to Africa is a sunset; the sun with duality
If you look closely at the sunset, you will find rage and anger, an outpouring of stillness. Sfiso Ka Mkame’s Homage To Africa art exhibition is a sunset.
Born in 1963, in Durban, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Mkame’s work has always reflected the times he has lived through as a child of African soil. It has always been a reflection of his personal experience with the political conflict, daily struggles, and hardships during the Apartheid era.
Homage to Africa is no different. On one hand, his body of work emits piercing screams that come from the belly of Africa. On the other hand, his canvases instil Africa’s joy in the emptiness of our world. The exhibition that opened on the 27th of April 2021 loves all of Africa. His homage to her depicts purity in love. He does not handpick what he adorns about the continent. In other words, Mkame’s work is an appreciative work that respects and acknowledges Africa’s beauty and her ugliness. In doing so, it encourages us to do the same. It encourages us to recognize our pain and not forget to celebrate our continent’s beauty.
Additionally, in kneeling and bowing to Africa, Mkame explores her jazz, spirituality and heritage. The artist also tells the narrative of Africa’s families and communities. It also depicts her royalty, and the Dahomey Amazon Women who protected their people in many countries. Mkame’s work is also a voice for Africa’s injustice and power of resistance.
The anger and the rage of this sunset explores themes of xenophobia, HIV/AIDS as well as the challenging social-economic and political African climate. In addition, the darkness of Africa shared through this body of work is one that has traveled from the Apartheid era. Homage to Africa explores a South African era that saw the ‘necklacing’ or burning of people. In addition it looks at the painful experiences of being Black and poor, Black and oppressed in your own land. All this is told through an application of layered oil pastels and pastel scratches that are a revelation of what reminisces African textiles.
The exhibition ends on the 30th of May at the Melrose Gallery.