ART SERIES

Athenkosi Kwinana

A Critical Revisit | Displacement In The Community
The Colour Series | 2023

While one may argue that the title is already self-explanatory, may we not succumb to the ‘curse of knowledge’. Persons with Albinism (PWA), of all ages and gender, are subjected daily to systemic violence and discrimination. As a result, many with the fear that they may be harmed, raped, or abducted and killed for their body parts. In response, my artworks depict how more expansive representation of PWA assists in creating greater awareness about Albinism. I challenge existing social prejudices and stigmatisation about PWA through my art practice. My artworks focus on the daily lives and interactions of PWA within South African communities, and the world at large.

To start, it is important to reiterate what the DISPLACEMENT IN COMMUNITY: THE COLOUR SERIES explored. Created during my stay at the Admirals Artist Residency in Cape Town, the series explored the notion of colourism related to Albinism. I created artworks with the intention of being rational and constructive imagery that tackles discourses related to Albinism. In regard to colourism, I created artworks that celebrate the uniqueness of black communities of South Africa. The artworks’ composition depicted floating faces against flat coloured backgrounds, that sat centred in the drawings. I used hands as a form of symbolism and reference to sign language, with the intention to emphasise my desired message. Through the digitalisation and physical showcasing of DISPLACEMENT IN COMMUNITY: THE COLOUR SERIES, the artworks allowed for discourses on inclusivity, body positivity, and confidence related to Albinism. The depiction of differently skin-toned hands further allowed for conversation on notions of the skin. This was visibly evident in how my audience interacted with my representatives and I; through conversations carried out during gallery visits, media outlets, and technological advances, such as social media platforms.

As a result, being aware of these reactions, I wondered if I could push the conversation further. In the creation of A CRITICAL REVISIT: DISPLACEMENT IN COMMUNITY: THE COLOUR SERIES, I have created artworks that place the albinotic body in communal spaces – on the coach, at the dinner table and seated by the bedroom window. Am I further challenging the notions of inclusivity, humanism and layers of bodily politics? Yes indeed, I am. When I am reminded that persons with Albinism tend to be excluded from communal spaces because they are, we are, seen and perceived as less than human, I am reminded to make it my calling to challenge such notions attached to my body and those of my community members.

Athenkosi Kwinana
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