21 × 16.75 in
This work is approximately $840.00 USD and is shipped from South Africa. Please enquire for shipping quote.
This etching, Ne lave Pas Ton Visage, by Cinthia Sifa Mulanga, captures an intimate moment portraying a black woman draped in an almost soaked dress about to have a bath surrounded by two artworks – one is a portrait of a woman from the eighteenth century and the second is an image of a sensual black woman looking at the figure in the bath tub. Mulanga’s image clearly references art practices from western art history such Edgar Degas’ portrayals of women in the bath. The stance of the woman in the tub alludes to Renaissance figures both in the classical positioning of the body and the luxurious folds of drapery. However, here, Mulanga is addressing black female sexuality and spaces of domesticity to provoke the viewer to think about representations of African women. Mulanga uses a technique called direct gravure, a process where she draws paints onto frosted film with charcoal, HB pencil and India ink. The drawing is then etched onto a copper plate using a traditional photogravure method and the image is printed onto paper.
Cinthia Sifa Mulanga (b. 1997 in Democratic Republic of the Congo) is an independent contemporary artist from the Democratic Republic of the Congo but whose practice is deeply rooted in her experiences growing up in South Africa. After her studies, Mulanga became preoccupied with painting and collage, mediums that have come to define her practice. They serve a dual interest in engaging with the history of western art and popular culture thus delving into African art. The focus of Mulanga’s practice is on the representation of Black women. Through their depiction, she looks to engage with different personas, emotions, or states of mind.
Through her practice, Mulanga juxtaposes several different women in her paintings, thereby highlighting the complexities of female identity, the stream of varying consciousnesses that occupy a single space, identity or moment in time. Representing female bodies within a variety of architectural spaces and contexts, her work operates as multi-perspectival portraits while the spaces allow her to create open conversations and interrogate the notions of beauty. This polyphonic character is amplified through the introduction of additional female subjects via the inclusion of painted or collaged artworks hanging on the walls of the rooms occupied by my subjects.
These images of women, typically sourced from popular culture or the history of western painting, serve as a reminder of how the structures of the female gender and beauty are reinforced and bear down on her subjects. In this way, she dialogues with the tradition of western painting, challenging the absence of black female subjects and the representation of women at the hands of male artists. At times she references well-known artworks or those produced by South African contemporaries. They are intended as tributes to their work, and playful acts of recontextualisation. This referential element is also driven by her own desires, to plot spaces beyond reach or that of my viewers. This is further complemented by furniture and decorative pieces in the interiors that evoke aspirational lifestyles advanced by decor magazines.
Mulanga trained as an artist at the Artist Proof Studio in Johannesburg. She has participated in a variety of exhibitions which includes her solo exhibition In The Becoming at Goodman Gallery Johannesburg (2022). She has taken part in group exhibitions at international galleries such as Bill Brady Gallery, Miami (2021); exhibition Liminality in infinite spaces curated by Azu Ngwaghugo (2020); The Artroom Gallery (2020), among others. Mulanga has also been recognised for her work by the Normal Sovereign African Art Prize (2023); The British Fashion Council’s New wave Creatives and collaborated with Fashion House Gucci, to reimagine the iconic Diana Tote Bag (2022). Cinthia Sifa Mulanga lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa where she is supported and advised by Latitudes Online.