A newcomer to Johannesburg, Mncedi Madolo’s scenes of the downtown city capture the microcosm of late 19th and early 20th century architecture that flourished in this frontier mining town. Overlaid on coffee stain, Mncedi’s vistas are empty of people but evoke the mining pioneers, gold magnates, migrant labourers and present-day immigrants who all jostle for belonging in this hard-edged and deeply unequal city.
Mncedi’s interests go far beyond documenting his new surroundings. He is interested in social conventions and expectations, and particularly in how these can have a negative, almost imprisoning effect. He is currently working on a provocative new series of gender-fluid mixed media sculptures referencing Christian iconography, that speak to gender, race and family identities.
Mncedi grew up in Alice in the Eastern Cape. He completed his Fine Art degree at at Walter Sisulu University in 2014. While still studying, Mncedi followed his entrepreneurial spirit by founding Smoked Beef Studios in East London in 2013, selling decorative art and branding to family, friends and a number of local businesses. Wanting to develop further, he completed a business skills diploma through SEDA in 2015, whilst also doing graphic design for an advertising agency and testing the waters with a fashion label.
Mncedi has exhibited in group exhibitions at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival in 2009 and 2011. He moved to Johannesburg in 2017, where he completed Art Source SA’s Professional Practice Bootcamp Programme. He is currently mentored by some of Johannesburg’s prominent artists at the Bag Factory and August House, and will be part of the Fresh Produce show at the Turbine Art Fair in July 2018. He is also exhibiting in group shows at Guns & Rain in 2018.
His studio is in downtown Johannesburg, just across from the Rand Club, nestled behind a bookshop that focuses on African writers and writing.