The third instalment of our new series ‘Against All Odds’ is about a young emerging visual artist from KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. Born in 1986, Sizwe Sama Sibisi is a self-taught artist who originally trained as a nurse. We discovered his colourful, lush multimedia pieces through our favourite gallery based in Johannesburg, Guns & Rain.
Sizwe uses hand stitching and applique in his work, using any materials he can find, including cotton, linen, chiffon, corduroy, flannel and lycra.
“The various colours are me sprinkling some confetti onto the downtrodden members of our society. The consistent ‘D’ shape signifies the profile of a pregnant woman’s stomach. Often, a woman is left to raise her young alone, which is a huge struggle, yet they manage beautifully.”
Sizwe’s work celebrates and honours single mothers and the LGBTQ+ community, who are subjected to violence and prejudice even today.
During his childhood, Sizwe’s mother worked as a seamstress most of her life to make ends meet for her family. Sizwe incorporates this into the stitching in his work. “The way I look at it is, women do a good job stitching society together”.
Sizwe hopes that his work will shift paradigms and inspire change in a society like South Africa, which has a long way to go in normalising and accepting the non binary.