Artist Bambo Sibiya has created a body of work in reaction to the how the “old” normal that has failed us. The system unattended weakness and the unheeded warning has been brought to the fore in the time of a pandemic. Using striking colours and rich textures, his characters gaze captures the viewer’s attention, not allowing them to escape the very real realities of race, gender, gender-based violence, environmental destruction and now the pandemic. These are daily tragedies being suffered by South Africans. This portrait exudes resilience and dignity but very much leaves an open ended question the viewer – what are we going to do about this? How are we going to fix it? This work is based on a series that Bambo did in 2020 where he requested friends and families to send him selfies of their pandemic experiences. He took these images and translated them in to this vibrant and defiant portrait.
Bambolwami Sibiya is based in Johannesburg, South Africa, and draws inspiration from personal memory and current socio-economic events to formulate his images. Trained at Artist Proof Studios in Johannesburg, Bambo still avails himself of traditional printmaking techniques paired with painterly mark-making and drawing skills to create his artworks in acrylic and charcoal on paper or canvas. Sibiya’s use of intriguing photographic reference material and rich colour combined with patterned backgrounds add pathos and intrigue to this work.