'IMIYALELO' - Feni Chulumanco

Collection: 'IMIYALELO' - Feni Chulumanco


Wednesday 28 September 2022

Continues until 29th October 2022


In Feni Chulumanco’s first solo exhibition, this Cape Town based Artist explores familial Imiyalelo. Imiyalelo directly translates to ‘Instructions’, referring to the family values and morals that are passed down through generations, ultimately informing decisions we make and shaping our identities.

By displaying domestic objects, the Artist pays homage to how these elements were used to decorate the home space by our parents and how this signified status and played a significant role in his upbringing. Re-telling his lived experience, compelling faceless solitary figures are always painted against a background of textiles and notably saturated colours, such as mustard walls from memories of his late grandmother’s home. Chulumanco notes that these figures are self-portraits as well as recreations of his brother and himself at home. He paints his figures without faces because, while they are inspired in part by West African masks, they also represent Chulumanco’s own experience. In his pursuit of being an artist, he had faced rejection from his community, and he recalls feelings of voicelessness and invisibility. Chulumanco’s work is never static because his figures are always in motion – they represent the discipline he values through the chores assigned to his brother and him by his mother. He discloses that his dreams still link him to messages from his forefathers, including his late and beloved grandmother.

Chulumanco encases some of his figures in glass boxes, and references the individualism, personal growth, and the secure environment he created for himself through self-isolation in order to follow his calling, but it is also a tribute to the caregivers and feminine forces who nurtured, nourished, and believed in him, as he permeates his art with maternal warmth.

Feni Chulumanco was born in Nyanga in 1994 and relocated with his family to Langa Township in Cape Town when he was a child, where his mother and grandmother raised him and his younger brother.

Works on exhibition

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