Windhoek – Artist and designer Khulekani Msweli is all about hope.
The painter and crockery artist from Vuvulane in Eswatini this week told The Southern Times that his art takes on moral, social and political matters that he feels are pulling back not just his community, but his nation.
He is currently mounting a solo exhibition, “A Eulogy to a Black Man,” at Yebo Art Gallery.
Speaking to The Southern Times Arts this week that, “With the skills, opportunities and exposure that I have, I feel that I have a duty to give back to my community and be part of the community’s development, while using my talent and visibility to be a voice for those who are never heard.
“With my art they are quite a number of messages that I try to convey. One predominant message is the one where I try my best to make sure my art offers a sense of hope, a sense of truth in what I create. So it’s a reflection of the times we live in – whether political, whether social – and just the general way in which our lives are celebrated and affected.
“Africa really inspires my art in so many ways: it’s just the fabric of what Africa is, it’s the different cultures, it’s the rawness, it’s the truth, it’s the sense of community. There are many aspects of Africa which really inspire the way I work. It’s the talent that’s found in Africa, it’s the humans, it’s the different stories. It’s so rich in so many aspects that I’m never short of inspiration from the continent and most importantly, it’s a continent of love and it’s a continent which is forever seeking of truth and identity,” he said.
His solo exhibition is about breaking negative stereotypes surrounding people of colour.
“As a black man that is living a life that is nothing short of a beautiful journey, of discoveries, family, spirituality, learning, unlearning, intellect, excellence, disturbing the comfortable, thrashing injustice and loving one’s self, despite all of the blemishes that history has yoked upon those of my kind, it is therefore my moment to write my eulogy…It is possible to undo injustices done to black men, by choosing to carve a new narrative that is authored by those walking consciously towards claiming what has been systematically distorted,” Msweli said.
The exhibition includes work such as, “Thoughts of a Black Man”, “Lithuna”, “Siyophaka”, “Mkhekhetse” and “Speaking Truth to Power”, the last being an acrylic piece that deals with injustice.Asked what legacy does wanted to leave behind him, Msweli said: “That I offered hope, pushed the limits of creativity, inspired others to become professional artists and was accessible to the rural community that raised me.”