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Zandile Tshabalala


Zandile Tschabalala — Born 1999, Soweto, South Africa. Lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa. Represented by ADA Contemporary, Accra; and Galerie Nagel Draxler, Berlin/Munich/Cologne.


Zandile Tschabalala is interested in topics of representation, particularly the representation of black women in historical paintings. She noticed a pattern whereby black women in paintings were usually placed in the background, often fading into it as if they're not present; or they were placed in compromising situations that reinforce the idea that black women are inferior and should be marginalized. The artist felt a strong need to challenge these ideas and give back the black woman’s voice in her paintings by placing the black female figure in a powerful position that allows her to be in control of her own body and the gaze that is exchanged between her and the viewer. The artist then starts to tap into topics of beauty, sensuality and the relationship between the black female body and the landscape.


“I want to represent the black woman in a more confident, sensual, beautiful manner.”

The mediums she works with most often are acrylic and oil paint (occasionally an infusion of the two), with addition of some sculptural elements — all merged onto the canvas. She tends to revisit and make reference to the works of painters who came before her, and interpret or rework the works in the way she sees fit for her narrative and practice. The works of Kerry James Marshall, Njideka Akunyili-Crosby, Cinga Samson, Nandipha Mntambo and Henri Rousseau have played a large role in influencing the artist’s practice and her way of thinking.


Tschabalala is currently completing her BA (FINA) at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. She has had solo exhibitions at Galerie Nagel Draxler, Berlin; and ADA Contemporary, Accra. Recent group exhibitions include: Liminality in Infinite Space, African Artists’ Foundation, Nigeria; The Medium is the Message, curated by Azu Nwagbogu, Unit, London; Thread – Zandile Tshabalala x Qhamanande Maswana, curated by Togo Ntokozo Langa, mmARTHouse, Johannesburg; and Lean Against Black, Art Lovers 1932, Pretoria.


Bad Girls 2021 - Featured Work

ZT_Lounging III_Tongue out_200x120_2021.jpg


Lounging III: Tongue Out, 2021

acrylic on canvas

200 x 120 cm - 78.7 x 47.2 inches


Not for sale.

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