“Throughout this journey I have developed an understanding of my passions and purpose on this Earth. Art, in all its expressions, has taught, inspired and healed me.”
Phumzile Konile, was raised in Mafikeng by her grandmother, Serongoane Namane, and it was her who ignited her love and passion for the arts. Phumzile grew up seeing Maedile, as her grandma was affectionately called, expressing her creativity and artistic talents through the making of immaculately tailored clothing, and through a garden so beautiful only someone with such a huge appreciation for beauty and nature could ever grow.
Phumzile has been based in Cape Town since 2005 where she completed a Bachelor of Architectural Studies program, at the University of Cape Town. In the “Mother city” her immense talent has not gone unnoticed and has quickly granted her a wide range of opportunities: from double page spreads of mixed media collages in renowned publications to architectural designs of cultural centres.
The artist has also showcased her work in multiple exhibitions at well known art galleries in Cape Town, getting her the praise of art critics and featured pieces in multiple magazines including Idea Magazine, International Architecture Magazine , British Vogue and Cosmopolitan South Africa
Additional to her artistic ventures, the multi-discipline artist has also launched her own brand of handmade jewelry: RWALA MANYENA, a collection of earrings largely made from pure cotton and acrylic wool. Each pair is hand knitted and hangs gently on the ears.
The AYA Edit interviewed the artist to dig deeper into her art, what inspires it and what are her drivers .
What inspired you to become a Visual artist and Photographer? Do you have any artists that particularly influenced you? Did the environment you grew in contributed in any way to becoming an artist and influences the kind of art you produce?
Throughout my childhood and schooling career, I used Art as a creative outlet; to express my dreams and to meditate. Gradually, over time I developed very strong skills, particularly in visual art, and at some stage decided to take my craft more seriously.
Today I am learning how to become business savvy with my creative abilities so that I can use them to empower myself and others.
I have been inspired by my late grandmother, Serongoane Hilda Namane. She creatively expressed herself through fashion; designing, making, and styling clothes as well as gardening.
My uncle, Tswagare Namane, is a writer and I’m always in awe of his wisdom and how he expresses it through words. I do not want to become a writer myself however I do value having knowledge of a wide variety of subject matters.
I took Visual Arts as a subject throughout my schooling career and I am grateful for having had passionate teachers who encouraged me as well as access to a wide range of resources.
What do you usually try to convey with your art?
I strive to express the beauty of blackness and African Culture in my Art.
What do you think the governments and leaders should do to better support artists in your communities?
I think the Government should invest in building more Art Schools as many people have creative skills but not necessarily the platforms and resources to develop them. I encourage all artists to use their skills and the resources they have to pursue their dreams.
How are you mixing your artistic role with your community work? I strongly believe that art is the best way to ignite change.
The next chapter of my creative Journey is on Gardening and Landscape Architecture. My vision is to use my artistic skills to design healing spaces whereby people can engage and connect with nature. I am inspired by the Salt River Park and Vegetable Garden as the spaces used to be dumping sites but have now been transformed into spaces of greenery whereby people are building wealth directly from the land.