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Dumile Feni-Mhlaba (Zwelidumile Mxgazi) (South African, 1942–1991)
LOT ID: 65140
Untitled, ie. circa 1985

Ink, on Paper
13.25 х 17.5 in. (33.66 x 44.45 cm.)
Signed, lower right
Lot description
Matte: 18 x 24 in

Presented in this powerful ink on paper work by Dumile Feni-Mhlaba are a group of figures representing the oppressed and ever-struggling South African. Thick, commanding lines form the beast of burden, who has fallen to his knees and has been rendered with a human face. Another figure from behind tries to force the animal along, his own expression showing the strain and exertion needed to push the beast onwards. Speaking to the down-trodden yet ever persevering South African, Dumile creates a powerful figuration captured in a dynamic and evocative work on paper.

South African artist Dumile Feni-Mhlaba (Zwelidumile Mxgazi) (B. 1942 Worcestor, South Africa-D. 1991, New York, NY) is primarily known for his expressive figurative drawings and sculpture, which expose discrimination and injustices experienced in his native home of South Africa. As a member of the Township Art Movement, Dumile’s work illustrated the inequality and daily struggle of life under Apartheid rule. Motivated from his own social position, Dumile explored the identity of black South Africans within an urban setting. Often employing ritual aspects of African culture, while distorting or moving figures in and out of emotive positions of oppression, Dumile created complex works of art acutely sensitive to time and place. In 1967 he represented South Africa at the Sao Paulo Biennale, after which he left his hometown of Johannesburg, living briefly in the UK before immigrating to the US. Throughout his career Dumile has held exhibitions at Gallery 101 in Johannesburg, South Africa; Gallery 21, London, UK; and was included in the University of Fort Hare’s, ‘Contemporary African Art in South Africa,’ which toured throughout Africa in 1979.

Select Public Collections:
South African National Gallery (Cape Town, South Africa)
Pretoria Art Museum (Pretoria, South Africa)
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