Mandlenkosi Mavengere is a Zimbabwean artist living in Johannesburg.
His experience of flight and readjustment to a hostile South Africa saddled with a faltering economy, informs his entire oeuvre which addresses the plight of migrants forced to accept demeaning jobs as street vendors and domestic workers despite their superior education and possible qualifications.
They struggle to support themselves and their loved ones back home with their pitiful earnings however fortunately there is a reverse side to the coin.
Mavengere, like many of his exiled compatriots, disdain meagre socialist hand-outs and make capitalism work for them, achieving wealth and status by dint of unremittingly hard work.
He said: “My artworks bring into conversation and discussion, the issues of migration and labour relations in our contemporary society. I migrated from Zimbabwe to South Africa crossing borders, had my identity checked at immigrations, and I arrived to fit-in, in a multi-racial country.
“My banknote artworks (significantly etchings and linocuts) are a framework within which one can observe the issues of migration with relevance to socio-economic divergence and convergence. The directional lines in the banknotes depict the scatterings people and population displacement; the repetition of patterns symbolize the circumstantial economic system embedded to the stereotyped migrants.”
“The linocut banknotes printed onto fabric (canvas) emphasize the constructed perambulation of the population in search for income and better life. The figures and portraits (with head gear) painted on money are economically fabricated identities who are fitting into new homeland of occupation versus the home of origin,” said Mavengere.
See more of his work here.
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