Ricky Dyaloyi: Isiphambuka Sendlela (The Crossroads)

Ricky Dyaloyi : Isiphambuka Sendlela (The Crossroads) - Omenka Online

The notion of a ‘crossroads’ perfectly encapsulates the work of Dyaloyi. For me, his paintings have always manifested at the intersection of the concrete and the intangible. Though his paintings clearly originate in his lived experience, it’s as if he distils the world around him, decoding its noise and clarifying the essences of the human condition. Then he reimagines and re-encrypts the everyday into his visions in paint.

The results are haunting stories. The protagonists are stripped out of the prosaic and transmuted into energetic expressions of humanity that seem to collapse time. Are we the protagonists or are these figures our ancestors or, rather, our future selves? I think for Dyaloyi they are all – humanity forever at the crossroads of life and death; of having ancestors and becoming them.

Consequently, his paintings are like a chorus, both testament and conspiracy; cajoling and cradling; witness and jury and giving voice to the voiceless. They interrogate where resilience meets fragility. As his stories unfold before our eyes, Dyaloyi invites his audience to examine the past and the status quo and to imagine our possible future.
– Charles Shields

Born in 1974 Gugulethu, Cape Town, from a young age, Ricky Dyaloyi felt inspired to draw and sketch the vibrant community and life that surrounded him in the township. His creativity and love for the arts were encouraged and nurtured by his parents during his adolescent years and by 1988, at age fourteen, he was attending part-time art classes at CAP (Community Arts Project). From this training, he was propelled to participate in workshops and exhibitions.

Dyaloyi’s imagery and thematic evolved around the time of South Africa’s first democratic elections – a momentous period in South Africa’s history where there was an influx of discourse and exchange between all South African artists in the country. His oeuvre, therefore, fits into a broader genre of South African painting, which has its roots in the Thupelo programme -a workshop that encouraged artistic growth by exchanging ideas, experiences, techniques and disciplines within a shared space or studio. The programme started in the 1980s in Johannesburg and later was brought to Cape Town in the 1990s.

Dyaloyi’s style of painting reflects ordinary citizens going about their daily lives, rendered in heightened colours to reveal the effervescent quality of the community and people with whom he lives. The artist pays special attention to the South African context and hopes to highlight “… the black people’s level of existence”. With an uncanny determination, Dyaloyi aims to unravel the simple mysteries of the human condition through his medium of choice – oil paint.

His 2015 exhibition Shaman of the Everyday at the Everard Read, Cape Town, continued this pertinent exploration into human existence and relationships, but delved further, focusing on interior spaces, whilst exploring personal and shared environments.

Everard Read published a monograph on Dyaloyi in 2016 and an essay on the artist is included in Ashraf Jamal’s In The World: Essays on Contemporary South African Art, published in 2017.

Ricky Dyaloyi: Isiphambuka Sendlela (The Crossroads) runs at Everard Read Franschhoek until 13 December 2021.


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