The life and work of Collen Maswanganyi
“When I was approached by Alex Hamilton with the theme of Wild Wild Life, I started to think of the idea of “the beast in me”, it reminded me of Muhammad Ali’s famous quote “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee”. “ – Collen Maswanganyi
The artist further explains: that typically a beast doesn’t simply attack its prey, it lies in wait enticed by its target, until it chooses the right time to attack. Maswanganyi’s sculpture Float Like a Butterfly and Sting Like a Bee II, is designed complete with beautiful and attractive butterflies, effortlessly floating. They invite the viewer to come closer. However it is within this act that Maswanganyi reminds the viewer of a vital oversight: between man and beast, wellbeing and pain. While one sees the floating butterflies it is easy to get sidetracked by its beauty, forgetting the painful potential of the sting of the bee. It is a playful interpretation of a famous quote that Maswanganyi employs as his rhetoric for the description of a Wild Wild Life.
Another sculpture on the exhibition titled: Raided and Doomed is about the forced removal of District 6 residents during the late 1960s. Maswanganyi states among the reasons for the removal of this group of people, that:
“they infested the area with shacks, prostitution, drugs and many other things. To me it felt as if they were removed the way people disinfect their houses for unwanted pests”. – Collen Maswanganyi
The three figures seated in the dust pan represent the greater Cape coloured community, dressed in traditional carnival suits. The Doom and Raid cans represent teargas, the dust pan represents police vehicles used for the forced removals and the brush – the police. This work demonstrates the violent process of historical forced removals from a satirical point of view.
Collen Maswanganyi hails from the city of Giyani in north-eastern Limpopo. His father, and mentor Johannes Maswanganyi is a critically acclaimed wood carver and sculptor who has exhibited both locally and internationally.
09h00 – 17h00
Sunday & Public Holidays
10h00 – 16h00