Sizwe Sama Sibisi (b.1986), who goes as Sizwe Sama, is a visual artist from Kwa-Zulu Natal who taught himself about art thanks to his local library in Pietermaritzburg and the local Tatham Art Gallery. Sizwe originally trained as a nurse but is now a full-time textile artist. His inspiration stems in part from his mother, a seamstress, and the ‘D’ shapes in his work are based on the shape of his mother’s mending patches.

Sizwe’s work should be read in the context of longstanding traditions of textile and tapestry work in Africa.

“Hand-stitching is a part of my art making process, as it reminds me of my mother doing mending for my brother and I growing up. She’s worked as a seamstress most of her life. She’s been taking care of my brother and I by using her hands to stitch. The way I look at it is, women do a good job stitching society together.  The consistent D shape signifies the profile of a pregnant woman’s stomach. Oftentimes a woman is left to raise her young alone, which is a huge struggle, yet they manage beautifully.”

View Sizwe’s latest work from his solo show Happy In Hell.

“My work celebrates and honours the LGBTQI+ community and single mothers. The colourfulness and layering calls to mind ‘confetti’ which signifies celebration and festivity at PRIDE marches and events. The various colours is me sprinkling some confetti onto the downtrodden members of our society. Non binary groups and women are subjected to wide lack of acceptance, ridicule and violence. I reflect on this in the intricate patterns of my artworks. South Africa as society has a long way to go in terms of normalising and accepting the non-binary. I hope through my work I will shift paradigms and inspire change”.

Sizwe has exhibited in multiple group shows with Guns & Rain, as well as having his first solo with the gallery in 2022. His work already sits in multiple international and local collections, including the AMAWAL (Spain) and ARAK (Qatar) and Africa First Collections.


  • 2022 Group Show, 99 Loop, Cape Town
  • 2022 Karoo National Arts Festival, Oudtshoorn, South Africa
  • 2022 Africa First X Gordon Collaboration, What Makes Your Heart Fly?, Tel Aviv
  • 2022 Guns & Rain, Solo Show, Happy In Hell, Johannesburg
  • 2022 African Galleries Now, African Art Galleries Association, Artsy
  • 2022 The Bag Factory, Solo Show, What Makes Your Heart Fly?, Johannesburg
  • 2021 Duende Art Projects, Threads, Antwerp
  • 2021 African Galleries Now, Artsy
  • 2021 MOVART: New Era for Humanity, Lisbon
  • 2021 Eclectica Contemporary: 11:11 Group show, Cape Town
  • 2021 Guns & Rain with the Bag Factory: Meeting Places, Johannesburg
  • 2021 99 Loop Gallery: Untitled 8.99 group show, Cape Town
  • 2020 FNB Art Joburg, Online
  • 2020 African Galleries Now, Artsy
  • 2020 Guns & Rain: Fresh Voices, Online

Sizwe Sama on Artsy

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