Durant Basi Sihlali
Born in 1935 in Soweto, South Africa. Died in 2004 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Durant Basi Sihlali played a formative role in the growth of South African art, and has been an important inspiration to a younger generation of artists. Sihlali received his art training at various community and art centres in Johannesburg, notably the Polly Street Art Centre, as well as in Nice, France. Sihlali’s work has been said to contextualise an important archive of political action in South Africa, providing a worthy meditation on the conditions of Black African life under the apartheid system. Sihlali founded the Umhlanga Paper Studio, from where he developed his distinctive paper pulp painting technique. The process involved acquiring old materials for reclamation. Sihlali would purchase old paper tablecloths from hotel kitchens, shred and pulp them, then dye them in an assortment of colours. Using this material as the basis for his paper paintings, he worked the pulp into intricate and complex imagery. In his words, the works, ‘represent a right of passage or a form of shamanism. They are manifestations of Ubuntu: a philosophical way of life that is fast disappearing from our lives’.
Durant Basi Sihlali, 'The Initiate', 2003, Paper pulp painting, 80 x 188 cm, Courtesy of GALLERY AOP

Artists 2015