Zana Masombuka is a young South African artist, living and working between her studio in Johannesburg and her farm in Sterkloop Mpumalanga. Masombuka’s work was first presented by October Gallery during the In the Light exhibition in September 2022. Masombuka directs creative and transformative processes to compose formally balanced visual narratives, charged with aesthetic subtlety. Through collaboration with photographers, Masombuka is at once the artist and subject matter, situating herself as the focus of an ever-evolving practice that explores culture and identity. She draws inspiration from her upbringing in the small town of Siyabuswa, in rural KwaNdebele, South Africa. The overarching themes of in her work investigate the intersections of age-old human experience with the modern world and how modernity impacts tradition and culture, especially in Africa. Her works deploy Ndebele cultural lore, symbolism and material contrast in a radical re-examination of the self as an individual.Read More
Masombuka’s series, Proudly South African conjures a medley of national symbols. The intense colours of the Rainbow nation’s flag, represented by emblems of her Ndebele homeland, are contrasted with a crown of faded Protea flowers—symbols of diversity and resistance—now drained of their once vibrant colours. The resulting series is a potent meditation on how the youthful members of today’s ‘born free’ generation are replacing traumatic memories of the apartheid era with newly minted narratives that graft the fruits of modernity onto the sturdy stock of indigenous traditions of knowledge. In her other series, Time: Gadesi S'khathi, Masombuka aims to capture the essence of time. Through the metaphorical use of lemons, she hints at the passing on and tensions of generational knowledge and how this informs identity and belonging. Both series held a successful debut at the tenth edition of 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, Somerset House, London in October 2022.
Masombuka undertook International Studies at Stellenbosch University and graduated from the University of The Underground Summer School Program’19 aimed at transnational education and the formulation of a Post-Nation State that took place in New York City. She has exhibited at the Inaugural Edition of the Underline Show’19 at the Museum of African Design and has showcased with ParisJoburg as part of the Africa A.Live exhibition which took place in Paris, France in December 2019. Masombuka has recently completed a residency in Matova, Italy and has been a guest speaker on a variety of talk series, including Taste Makers Africa (Ghana, 2020), Almanac Projects (London, 2020), Sandberg Institute (Amsterdam, 2020), Bocconi University (Milan, 2022), C-Change Festival, (Mantova, 2022).