ARTIST PORTRAIT / Siwa Mgoboza and his world of Africadia and the concept of Afropolitanism
Siwa Mgoboza is a visual artist who has created a world named Africadia – “which is an African Arcadia” as the artist calls it – a world where there is no label. His work is made of textiles. There is no race, the characters are not gender specific, and no sexuality specific and sometimes it can be difficult to know if they are animals or human beings. Siwa interrogates ” So how do I start to exist in a space and not be shackled by these labels, or the actual physical space and live my best life without feeling like I have to conform to make others accept me?”
Siwa was born in Cape Town but has lived in Peru and Poland, he has always been considered himself as an outsider even in his home country, South Africa. This made him think about the notion of “Home” and “existence”. ” He says “We know we don’t live in an isolated world, what happens in Africa affects what happens in the Middle East, affects what happens in the US, affects what happens in Asia and so forth. We are all connected but we have been programmed to close borders and isolate what is different from us.”
His work is vibrant, colorful and ” carnivalesque”. For him the fact that the work looks so vibrant and carnivalesque is to catch the attention of the viewer. Once the viewer is captivated, one starts to analyse and understand that the works is not so joyful as it may seems.
Siwa Mgoboza is represented by established galleries such as Loft Art Gallery in Casablanca, Morocco, Matter Gallery in Toronto, Canada, BoxArt Gallery in Verona, Italy and Semaphore Gallery in Neuchatel, Switzerland.