In this video presented by EBONY/CURATED (Cape Town, South Africa) and shot by Evan Naudé, South African artist Kimathi Mafafo discusses her work and practice in her studio.
Kimathi Mafafo (born 1984 in Kimberley, South Africa) is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice ranges from embroidery and oil painting to installation. Mafafo’s verdant imaginings, characterized by lush greenery and sensuous drapery, are far removed from the dusty mining town of Kimberley, where she grew up. Mafafo’s compositions are seductive in their level of detail yet remain curiously flat, emphasising their highly staged nature and the narrative element, which is central to her work. Her imagery is partly guided by her desire to celebrate the black female form, inspiring women to embrace their own worth and beauty.
Her earliest works are partly autobiographical and tell the story of a woman withdrawing from the urban lifestyle and finding strength in nature and within herself. Mafafo works alongside Mustapha Saadu – a tailor from Ghana – with whom she has collaborated on a series of embroideries, telling stories of women trapped under the weight of tradition and not fully realising their worth. Embroidery is an ancient transcendent, and Mafafo, an emerging female artist, has found solace in the art form, transforming herself and her artwork.
Recently, the artist has organised a group of Capetonian woman into an informal traditional embroidery society. The group embroider art pieces derived from her inspiration and artwork.