South Africa
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Exhibition celebrates afros, viewing them as crowns

There is a peaceful nature to the escape of lucid dreaming. The kind of slumber you wish you could stay in forever, something that many of us are undoubtedly feeling from cold mornings buried beneath large blankets.

For the ultra mysterious and illusive vonMash, it has been an inspiration for his creations particularly his latest exhibition titled Umthwalo.

The particular dream that led to his upcoming exhibition was inspired by a dream in which he envisioned his showing that was attended by people who had afros. “They looked so majestic and beautiful,” vonMash says.

The exhibition in turn celebrates afros viewing them as crowns that the artist reimagines in his signature style of meshing different styles with an afrofuturistic perspective he titles afridelic.

“I consider Uumthwalo as the things we carry with us spiritually, physically and mentally and how its link to the artwork is.

"When I speak of Umthwalo here, I intend to speak of the things we carry literally, on our heads, and figuratively, in our spirits: our hats, veils, headwraps and crowns but also our burdens, responsibilities, ancestral histories and evolving identities and chose to use hair as a representation of self-identity, owning all that that has been passed on by our forefathers in order to accept self.

"Once one understands and accepts their true self is when they become they most powerful,” he says.

The abstract nature of surreal art has often been an intimidating and foreign world for some. As a result they don’t always gravitate towards engaging these worlds, let alone buying the pieces.

vonMash encourages audiences to “dance with their own imagination” when confronted by this kind of art.

Seeing the successful reaction online has also encouraged vonMash to embrace fans from other parts of the world, something that is lacking in the support that is greatly deserved from local government.

“I feel the South African government isn’t protecting artists and doesn’t fully embrace or highly value the arts which could be one of the biggest exports to the rest of the world,” says vonMash.

While he has shared concerns in the past over the unethical nature of blockchains that power up NFT art, vonMash has seen a considerable change in the space. He is planning on creating works in the NFT space in a less environmentally damaging manner.

Umthwalo started showing at Artivist on August 4 and will run until September 30.