Umthwalo an exhibition by von MASH is influenced by African mysticism

By CityLIfe Arts Writer

Umthwalo (own your crown) is mixed media solo art exhibition by von MASH that opens at Artivist in Braamfontein on 4 August at 6pm, and closes on 30 September. Venue owner Kenzhero and HouseofRhythmn will feature on decks at the opening. Artivist is on 7 Reserve Street.

Von Mash is a young South African artist, utilizing new media (mixed media) to express himself. His work is heavily influenced by African mysticism as well as his childhood experiences of lucid dreaming. He draws a lot of inspiration from his personal view of life, African aesthetics, religion, social and political issues and the cosmic universe. The work is a blend of collaged images, textures and distorted colours and shapes; breathing life to a hyper digital collaging style he coined as “AFRIDELIC” art.

He explains “‘Umthwalo’ is a visual dialogue on hair, inviting us to explore the multiplicity of meaning in the tangible and abstract things we carry with us every day and how those meanings have been fabricated and threaded through with metaphor.”

The exhibition by vonMash uses collaborative multi-media artworks, to explore the ways in which our hair – and our choices and non-choices about our hair – is a binding thread. By augmenting vonMash’s artworks, the artist works calls attention to the function of hair strands as the strands which stitch together our past present; future and play a role in own our true identity as Africans.

The vision for the work originated in a dreamscape of vonMash: “Own you crown!” the dream shouted. Through von Mash’s lens, empowerment with respect to our hair comes from our proclamation that “It is not just hair!” and calls for a deepening of our historical context. For some the power is in the broadening of that context to the point where we may simultaneously recognise the historical significance of hair cultures and abstain from statements of political intent, placing this representative power wherever else we may choose. Both are political, both are personal, both a reclamation. The exhibition lays out these two viewpoints on a spectrum and invites audiences to consider where they may lie.

vonMash wants his work to elevate and open the perspective of who we are as Africans and shine a light upon our spiritual connection to the universe.  As he says, “We are kings and queens.”

The exhibition opens to public on Thursday 4th August and runs until 30th September 2022.  Open for viewing from 12H00 – 20H00 Thursday – Saturday or by appointment. Artivist is located on 7 Reserve Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg.

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