Zama Mwandla is absolutely unapologetic about her focus: the murderous revenge fantasies of rape victims in search of “heinous means to heal from a traumatic past”. Her paintings introduce a panoply of human-animal hybrids which reappear in the series, each character carrying particular signification.

These surreal creatures manifest in playful, seductive, rich colours – a means to entrap a male audience into confronting her graphic and gruesome subject matter. In her bold re-tellings of violence, rumination, psychopathic imagination, rage and grievance, she makes her characters relatable. Mwandla suggests, however, that attempts at revenge are ultimately futile; they are relegated to the world of fantasy, scenes on repeat. Mwandla graduated recently from Wits University with a BAFA (with Honours), achieving multiple awards during her studies under the tutelage of artist and scholar Professor Sharlene Khan. Her work was shown at the African Feminisms (Afems) exhibition in 2019, as well as by She Impressions and Joburge Fringe in 2021. 

You can view Mwandla’s debut group exhibition with Guns & Rain in the Fresh Voices 2022 catalogue.


  • 2022 Fresh Voices, Guns & Rain, Johanneburg
  • 2021 NEWWORK21, Wits Art Museum, Johannesburg
  • 2021 ESCAPISM, Point of Order, Johannesburg
  • 2021 Joburg Fringe, The Art Room, Johannesburg
  • 2021 She Impressions: Let It Be Known, Online
  • 2020 Black Notes, Alfajiri in Maboneng, Johannesburg
  • 2019 African Feminism (Afems) conference, Witwatersrand University, Johannesburg

Zama Mwandla on Artsy

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