The work of Zimbabwean painter Sky Salanje (b. 1992) is deeply embedded in Harare’s renowned contemporary painting scene, out of which artists such as Portia Zvavahera and Misheck Masamvu have emerged as leading international figures. His commitment to portraiture reflects the strong figurative origins of this scene, while his expressive use of line and strong sense of colour link him to its neo-expressionist orientation.
Explore Salanje’s catalogue for Investec Cape Town Art Fair 2023.
Salanje paints human and animal subjects, both real and imagined, with palpable sentiment ranging from curiosity to disgust. Sometimes his subjects are political figures or celebrities flaunting their power or wealth – in these moments, his artist’s eye is scornful and mocking. In other instances, his subjects are gently observed in a quiet moment, possibly unaware that they are being watched. Here, by contrast, his gaze is tender and empathic, trained on details that give us insight into the day-to-day lives of ordinary people.
Born in Masvingo, Zimbabwe, Salanje trained as an artist through the National Gallery of Zimbabwe’s Visual Art Studio programme. Working from a strong context of peer-to-peer learning and intergenerational exchange, Salanje continues to be nurtured by contemporaries with a commitment to figuration and colour. He in turn runs an artist collective in Chitungwiza, Harare, where he supports other artists with materials and exhibition space. Salanje has shown his work extensively via Zimbabwe’s most important platforms for contemporary painting, Gallery Delta and First Floor Gallery, both in Harare, and has worked with Guns & Rain since 2018. In 2022 he featured in a two–person exhibition at Guns & Rain together with Odirile Khune Motsiri and in 2023 showed work at the Investec Cape Town Art Fair.
2022 Knowing me knowing you, Duo show, Guns & Rain, Johannesburg
2022 Never mind the socks, Group show, Weiler’s ART Studio, Chitungwiza
2022 Time & Space, Group show, Post Studio, Chitungwiza
2021 Tiri parwendo, Group show, National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare
2021 Masked, Group show, National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare
2021 Fungi Nhasi, Group show, Weiler’s ART Studio, Chitungwiza
2019 Turbine Art Fair, Duo show, Guns & Rain, Johannesburg
2018 The Neighbourhood’s Eye. Solo show, Guns & Rain, Johannesburg
Pa wedding day
Acrylic on Canvas
159 x 147 cm
Who Can Be King
Acrylic on canvas
148 x 119 cm
From Malawi to Zimbabwe
Acrylic on canvas
111 x 76 cm
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