Lunga Ntila - Ukuzilanda

11 September - 03 October 2019

Over the years we have discarded the practice of determining one's character or standing through Phrenology. However in reading a portrait one cannot help but examine the sitter's features and assume traits to them. We continue to consider an individual with deep-set eyes as romantic or observant just as high cheekbones are synonymous with a regal youthfulness. We look to make conclusions. 

In a bid to defy this inevitable gaze, 24 year-old conceptual photographer makes use of a practice that amalgamates self-portraiture and collage-making. 

By so doing her process places photography within realms that can only be described as a digital take on expressionism and cubism. Using an archive of over 50 self-portraits, Ntila takes her face then cuts, deletes, duplicates, shrinks, elongates and pastes features where they do not belong. The result is a body of work and her debut solo exhibition at BKhz titled Ukuzilanda. 

Prior to her first solo exhibition at BKhz, Ntila's work was showcased at the Art Book Fair in Sao Paulo, Brazil and the Keyes Art Mile summer exhibition in 2018 as well as at the 2019 Investec Cape Town Art Fair. In 2018 Between 10and5 named her one of four South African creatives to watch alongside Nkhensani Mkhari, Rendani Nemakhavhani and Ferrari Sheppard. In 2019 she is listed as a part of the Design Indaba's emerging creatives class. 

After recently completing her studies in creative brand communications at Vega, Ntila has relocated to Pretoria where she works as a designer at Satori Notebooks. 

Having grown up between South Africa, Germany, Benin and the Netherlands her work explores themes of identity, displacement, reconciliation and healing while trying to establish a new age take on indigenous knowledge systems such as ukuzilanda.

It has only been two years since Ntila began working at her craft so her practice remains fluid — taking on hybrid forms of photography, styling and graphic design — as she grows. As the bud blossoms, working to refine her visual commentary on global pop culture, the national crises, nesintu sethu, there is an expectation for the work to remain a beautiful and approachable mix of digital and spiritual complexities. 

Through Ukuzilanda the emerging artist looks to broaden ideas of the self. In this scope of thinking the self spans beyond the periods between birth and death. It stretches past our parents and beyond our offspring. And while there are parts of ourselves that we are so disconnected from that we may not recognise them, they are still a part of our current existence. Expanding on this, Ntila describes her body of work as the visual act of collecting discarded parts of herself and imagining the various forms that they can take on. 

In concealing the formation of her features that one may recognise as Ntila, Ukuzilanda not only heals but it protects the sitter from the unwanted gaze — a tactic that speaks to the nervous conditions that South African womxn are subject to navigating in the country’s current climate. 

It has only been two years since Ntila began working at her craft so her practice remains fluid — taking on hybrid forms of photography, styling and graphic design — as she grows. As the bud blossoms, working to refine her visual commentary on global pop culture, the national crises, nesintu sethu, there is an expectation for the work to remain a beautiful and approachable mix of digital and spiritual complexities. 

After recently completing her studies in creative brand communications at Vega, Ntila has relocated to Pretoria where she works as a designer at Satori Notebooks. 

Having grown up between South Africa, Germany, Benin and the Netherlands her work explores themes of identity, displacement, reconciliation and healing while trying to establish a new age take on indigenous knowledge systems such as ukuzilanda. 

Through Ukuzilanda the emerging artist looks to broaden ideas of the self. In this scope of thinking the self spans beyond the periods between birth and death. It stretches past our parents and beyond our offspring. And while there are parts of ourselves that we are so disconnected from that we may not recognise them, they are still a part of our current existence. Expanding on this, Ntila describes her body of work as the visual act of collecting discarded parts of herself and imagining the various forms that they can take on. 

In concealing the formation of her features that one may recognise as Ntila, Ukuzilanda not only heals but it protects the sitter from the unwanted gaze — a tactic that speaks to the nervous conditions that South African womxn are subject to navigating in the countrIt has only been two years since Ntila began working at her craft so her practice remains fluid — taking on hybrid forms of photography, styling and graphic design — as she grows. As the bud blossoms, working to refine her visual commentary on global pop culture, the national crises, nesintu sethu, there is an expectation for the work to remain a beautiful and approachable mix of digital and spiritual complexities. 

by Zaza Hlalethwa 



Title: Something keeps calling

Medium: Digital Collage

Year: 2019

Size: 50cm x 45 cm
Edition Size: 10 editions

Edition # : 10 /10
Price: R2200 (Framed)

Title: Untitled

Medium: Digital Collage

Year: 2019

Size: 50cm x 45 cm
Edition Size: 5 editions

Edition # : 1 /5
Price: R3000 (unframed) R4500 (framed)

Title: DAZED
Medium: Digital Collage

Year: 2017

Size: 50cm x 45 cm
Edition Size: 5 editions

Edition # : 1 /5
Price: R3000 (unframed) R4500 (framed)

Title: Honesty

Medium: Digital Collage

Year: 2019

Size: 50cm x 45 cm
Edition Size: 5 editions

Edition # : 1 /5
Price: R3000 (unframed) R4500 (framed)

Title: N-Side 2

Medium: Digital Collage

Year: 2019

Size: 50cm x 45 cm
Edition Size: 5 editions

Edition # : 1 /5
Price: R3000 (unframed) R4500 (framed)

Title: Strange
Medium: Digital Collage

Year: 2019

Size: 50cm x 45 cm
Edition Size: 10 editions

Edition # : 3 /5
Price: R3000 (unframed) R4500 (framed)

Title: Watching Me

Medium: Digital Collage

Year: 2017

Size: 30.9cm x 31.1 cm

Edition Size: 10 editions

Edition # : 1 /10
Price: R1000 (unframed) R2000 (framed)

Title: Define Beauty II

Medium: Digital Collage

Year: 2017

Size: 50cm x 45 cm
Edition Size: 5 editions

Edition # : 2/5
Price: R3000 (unframed) R4500 (framed)