Artist Statement

Athenkosi Kwinana

My artistic practice delves into representing Persons with Albinism (PWA) in South Africa, aiming to confront the systemic violence and discrimination we face daily, such as being referred to in derogatory terms like “inkawu” (which translates to “monkey”). Through my work, I challenge existing social prejudices and stigmas surrounding PWA, seeking to foster greater awareness and understanding.

Drawing upon theoretical frameworks such as postcolonial theory and discourses on black female subjectivity, human rights, identity, and specific theories such as intersectionality. I explore the complexities of representing PWA within contemporary South African visual art and popular culture. My continuing research critically examines recent depictions of the albinotic body, particularly through the lens of a black feminist perspective.As an individual with Albinism, I utilise an autoethnographic approach, intertwining my personal narrative and those of individuals with Albinism with my artistic inquiry. Through my art practice, I aim to provide a nuanced understanding of the challenges and realities faced by us, PWA, while advocating for our equality and inclusivity within South African society.

By shedding light on the lack of research, social injustices, and policies relating to Albinism, my work signals urgent challenges that demand attention. I hope to stimulate deeper awareness and encourage dialogue that leads to tangible change in how PWA are perceived and treated in South Africa and beyond.

Athenkosi Kwinana
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