“The ability to exercise my freedom of expression is my main driver and it is what has made me become the
unbiased voice of society I now am”
My name is Simphiwe Kaka and I was born in South Africa a few months after the release of Nelson Mandela (aka South Africa’s transition to democracy in 1994). Thus, I was born in an era of hypothetical freedom and grew up in an era of symbolic freedom. In my society I am considered a freedom child and my age group is not shy to express their thoughts, unlike the older group.
I decided to express my thoughts on politics through my art to enact change in my society. My paintings are inspired by the exploration of the different, complicated and unique engagements and interactions between regular people on a daily basis.
The ability to exercise my freedom of expression is my main driver and it is what has made me become the unbiased voice of society I now am. Freehand painting and exploring different themes while using complicated painting techniques is what keeps me excited, for I want the viewer to be captured by the diverse styles all incorporated into one piece. Sometimes you can see sfumato mixed with impasto and dripping-abstraction in one same work of art.
Marrying different styles and techniques keeps my audience awake and engaged.
Title : Usemhlabeni wama phupha (you’re in the land of dreams)
This piece I had started before Covid_19 was announced in SA. Here I examine the road which lies ahead and juxtapose the subject in a land of peace and tranquility. The boy is seen wearing an oversized Levis jacket to represent the burdens which he has to outgrow, burdens that at the time are bigger than him. I portray the boy to mimic hip-hop stars and his journey in an unknown route to the UN (united nations). Written in the boy’s bag you will see: “the real land in UN” meant to highlight the power the UN has over Africa.
Title: Ubhubhane oqinisekileyo (a very sure virus).
This painting is the second piece and I created it during the first day of lockdown. It portrays a boy who’s well built and ready to tackle Covid_19. He carries a large glass which upon first glance looks like a wine glass, but is actually a holy grail. Here I’m playing with the idea that not even religion can outpower this virus. I insert a lot of symbolism in my work; some I let the viewer find and some I mention. For instance, the mask has a pyramid and on top of the pyramid there is a “less than symbol”, but facing downwards to portray that the virus came from North of Africa and rumors were that Africa would ultimately suffer more than the rest of the world; which hasn’t played out to be true. Again the boy is seen in an oversized gown to relay a message that your subconscious is covered by grand ideas which you will need to grow into.
Title: Xoza impepho sibuyele embo. (let’s use herbs and return to our roots).
I had created this work after there were rumors that herbs can help fight Covid_19. I knew that these are merely myths however I was of the view that herbs, when used with precaution, can really help the immune system. So I built this work to strengthen that argument. On the right hand side of the work I had inserted a bat to represent the notion that the virus came from a bat. I however have hidden this bat and once you see it, you will never unsee it. My work is swamped with symbolism which I’ve intentionally inserted. I became inspired by Leonardo Da Vinci hence I have inherited his painting style and have enhanced it so much that it is now unique to me.