Thirty-three-year-old conceptual artist and activist Mzoxolo x Mayongo is a strong believer in the power and agency of the arts in playing a big role in public dialogue and commentary on important social issues.
His artwork conceptualises the complexities of societal perceptions and human conditioning. His work has been grabbing the attention of the visual art world, particularly with his latest body of work, entitled Ubukho Be Ndoda: Demystifying the Phallus of Man, which can be considered to be a timeous, provocative and challenging body of work that has emerged at a time when conversations about gender and sexual orientation are being dissected and scrutinised from multiple perspectives.
In the work, Mayongo offers a personal response to his own insecurities as a man living in South Africa today. “I use my body as a tool to explore and interrogate human conditions, exposing the ills and sickness that exist in society. In so doing, I hope my work will offer healing and reform,” he says.
He explains that the driving force behind his work is to use art as a mirror of truth “for which we as humanity can reflect on”.
Highlights in his artistic career include showcasing his work at the National Arts Festival in Makhanda, being selected as part of Design Indaba emerging creatives class of 2019, to name a few.
He comments that the value of exhibitions and showcases of this nature enable people to engage with his work and “encourage me on the importance of the ideas and issues of the work and how the work has affected them positively”.
The lack of sufficient support of the arts is such a huge issue that many artists face, he adds.
“If we can change the mindset of society to acknowledge and support the critical role art plays in our lives, just like medicine and education, then we shall overcome the challenges of access,” he says.
He spends most of his time between gym or running and meditation as form of unwinding and relaxation for his artistic mind, body and soul. —Welcome Lishivha