Phillemon Hlungwani: Rirhandzu Ra Manana / The Love of Women

Phillemon Hlungwani: Rirhandzu Ra Manana / The Love of Women

Everard Read, London presents Rirhandzu Ra Manana / The Love of Women, a solo exhibition of recent work by leading South African artist Phillemon Hlungwani.

This exhibition features 25 new works that speak to his love, respect and deep gratitude for the women who are the life-giving force in communities across South Africa.

Hlungwani is predominantly known for his large-scale charcoal drawings which depict scenes from rural life and formal and informal settlements. He has the ability to convey traditional values and a sense of community through the scenes he depicts, which in turn has gained him recognition as one of the most accomplished contemporary artists currently working in South Africa.

Many of his recent drawings include proverbs in his first language – xiTsonga – as ­titles. These proverbs are often difficult to translate into English but they communicate an essential moral idea – showing how members of a particular community are either sustaining or betraying the values of the people living there. The people are inseparable from their environment, although his more recent images have introduced colour into the clothing of his protagonists to help them stand out in all their vibrancy and humanity.

Phillemon Hlungwani was born in 1975 in Limpopo. He attended Thomo Primary School and Hanyani Thomo High School, where he developed his skills under the guidance of his art teacher, motivator and friend Muxe Moses Mthombeni – and Queen Mtileni. Having attained an A for Art in Matric, Hlungwani studied at the Johannesburg Art Foundation before studying printmaking under the mentorship of Kim Berman, the late Nhlahla Xaba and Osiah Masukameng at the Artist Proof Studio.

Hlungwani later completed a teacher’s training course in Art at the WITS School of Art. He has since been based at the Artist Proof Studio, where he has facilitated classes, been a unit manager for papermaking and was the coordinator for community outreach and special projects at the studio. He has also worked in a range of advisory and mentoring projects.

Sponsored by the prestigious Ampersand Foundation Fellowship, Hlungwani went on an extensive study tour of printmaking studios in the United States. In addition to his drawing and graphic work, he has completed and facilitated many wall murals including the mural at the Standard Bank Art Gallery (for the Picasso in Africa exhibition) and the mural for Bell Dewar and Hall. He has also been commissioned by the JDA (Johannesburg Development Agencies), MTN and the South African Governmental offices. Awards include winning the King Korn competition (2000 and 2001) and the SABC Radio Station Munghana Lonene FM Log Design Award (2003). He was also one of the finalists for the Absa Gallery competition in 2001, 2002 and 2009.

Rirhandzu Ra Manana / The Love of Women Everard Read, London runs until November 11, 2017.

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