Sizwe Sama (b.1986) is a self-taught visual artist from Kwa-Zulu Natal, who learned about art from his local library in Pietermaritzburg and from visiting the Tatham Art Gallery. The fabrics he uses in his tapestries are sometimes recycled from his own closet, or acquired for their specific visual impact and cultural references. The imitation tartans and Kente cloths used in these works draw attention to the intercultural translation of visual languages, and the ease with which cultural forms are appropriated and cross-pollinated in a globalised world.
Explore Sizwe’s catalogue for the Investec Cape Town Art Fair 2023.
For Sama, this plurality is always proudly celebrated. He sees his work as a tribute to the LGBTQI+ community, as calls to freedom and self-expression, just as art-making has allowed him to express his own queer identity.
As much as his work is a highly visible outward celebration of queer personhood, it is also deeply rooted in his personal experiences and memories. Sama learned sewing by hand from his mother, a seamstress who raised him and his brother alone, and who mended their clothes in particular ways.
Sama has exhibited in multiple group shows with Guns & Rain and had his first solo with the gallery in 2022. He has also recently shown work at Galerie Christophe Person in Paris, and at the KZNSA Gallery in Durban, as well as at Duende Art Projects in Antwerp, Belgium, MOV’ART in Lisbon, Portugal, and by Africa First/Gordon Gallery in Tel Aviv, Israel. His work already sits in multiple international and local collections, including the AMAWAL (Spain), ARAK (Qatar) and Africa First (Israel) Collections.
Until the morning
Handstitched patchwork with cotton, polyester and wax fabric
122 x 148 cm
God created Adam & Steve
Handstitched patchwork with cotton, linen and wax fabric
201 x 260 cm
Handstitched patchwork with cotton, linen, and denim
105 x 152 cm
Wax fabric, fleece, corduroy, linen, hand stitched and feathers
139 x 95 cm
Handstitched patchwork with cotton, linen and fleece
89 x 95 cm
Fight for your rights
Handstitched patchwork with cotton, linen and acrylic fabric
128 x 74 cm
Handstitched patchwork with cotton, linen, flannel and brocade
145 x 84 cm
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