Ayanda Mabulu (b. King Williams Town, 1981) is a self-taught artist whose work focuses on social upheavals and matters affecting the politics of the black body. He currently lives and works in Johannesburg.
Inspired by people, music, the beat of the drum, sounds of jazz trumpet, saxophone, and hip-hop culture along with its politics. Mabulu tackles issues of inequality and its manifestations in contemporary society especially those that set the black body as a turf where violence occurs. Mabulu’s work through use of satirical imagery depicts and juxtaposes powerful leaders, masters, and mistresses with defenceless victims of greed, oppression, poverty, and systematic racism. Discourses of power, culture, and identity are arranged in narrative sequences that further exaggerate the already grotesque history of exploitation and its inheritance plays itself in the work. Mabulu is an internationally recognized artist – whilst exhibiting in many museums and galleries around the world, Mabulu’s thought provoking and critically acclaimed works are often covered by the New York Times, BBC, and Al Jazeera to name a few. Mabulu’s work is highly collected internationally by influential museums, galleries, diplomats, business people and moguls alike, celebrities and members of civil society.
“I don’t think that there can ever be another way; does a hunter, face the beast without disturbing and confronting it with a dagger, more especially when the beast attacks. There can never be any other solution but to stand toe to toe with the beast, unless you want the situation to change to where the hunter becomes the hunted. In this case how can an artist find a ‘polite and subtle’ way to address and depict social issues of our time were the human condition is deteriorating because of the style of politics inflicted by those in power that leave them starving and desperate so they can easily controlled ” – A. Mabulu
Kalashnikovv Gallery, Solo Show: ‘Concerning Violence’ (2018)
Kalashnikovv Gallery, Duo Exhibition with Vusi Beauchamp: ‘Freedom of __eech’ (2017)
Commune.1 Gallery (CT), Solo Show: ‘State of Blackness’ (2014)
Chengdu (China), Solo Show: ‘Cosmos of Oneness’ (2014)
Commune.1 Gallery (CT), Solo Show: ‘Imvo-Zabantsundu / The Native Opinion’ (2013)
Chenshia Gallery (China), Solo Show: ‘Beautiful Imperfection’ (2011)
Chenshia Museum (China), Solo Show: ‘Beautiful Imperfection’ (2011)
World Art (CT), Solo Show: ‘Un-mute my tongue’ (2010)
Mabulu has exhibited in numerous group exhibitions: ‘Memento Mori’, Kalashnikovv Gallery, Johannesburg (2018); ‘A Contemporary Showcase’, Graham’s Fine Art Gallery (2018); ‘The whole is greater than the sum of its parts’, Kalashnikovv Gallery (2017); ‘Scramble for Africa’, Kalashnikovv Galeri, Berlin (2016); ‘Origin & Lineage’, DF, Cape Town (2016); ‘Cross-Sections’, Kalashnikovv Gallery, Johannesburg (2015); ‘The Black Cube Sessions’, The Old Post Office, Braamfontein (2015); ‘Perceptual Vigilance’, AVA Gallery, Cape Town (2013); ‘Make me an Offer: ArtReach Fundraiser Exhibition’, Ava Gallery (2013); ‘Our Fathers’ AVA Gallery, Cape Town (2012); ‘Greatmore Studio Showcase’, Greatmore Studio, Cape Town (2012); ‘Thupelo International Artists Workshop’, Bag Factory, Johannesburg (2012); ‘Catch 2010’, 38 Special Gallery and Mandel Rhodes Gallery, Cape Town (2010); Isibane Creative Arts, Cape Town (2009); Roussour Gallery, Cape Town (2008); and ‘Umsi / Amos Letsoalo’, AVA Gallery, Cape Town (2006).
Art fairs include Cape Town Art Fair (2017, 2018), FNB Joburg Art Fair (2013, 2016, 2018), and Turbine Art Fair (2013, 2015, 2016).