“From all this one needs to grow as an artist for starters, to grow technically and consciously in terms of the things that I do and the people that I interact with and to get to a point where my art informs wider audience or even going international.”
Newcastle born artist, Lindo Zwane, is turning his childhood memories to a narrative other people can also relate to. Never at one point did Zwane think he was going to be an artist until he met Galaxy Ngwenya at Roh Hlatshwayo Art Center. It was through Ngwenya’s supervision that Zwane discovered his talent.
“I never thought I could be an artist, the point I realised that I can actually draw was after meeting Galaxy Ngwenya. I was interested in what he was doing. He took me in, and taught me the technics of drawing,” said Lindo. “I started working with him in 2012, and then we worked together on a portfolio for me to enrol at Artist Proof Studios.”
“Art is not something that is proposed as a career in black communities, the majority of black people do not understand it,”
Zwane studied printmaking at Artist Proof Studios where he graduated and is currently teaching.
Although his love for drawing started in primary school he was unaware of his talent then, however, throughout the years his love for drawing and storytelling grew.
“In primary school, there was a guy who had photocopies of drawing boards. He would show us his drawing boards but we never had access to them. At one point unaware I took one of his photocopies and went home with for the weekend. I drew and gave my drawing to my peers who were also interested in drawing,” said Lindo. “Drawing that time was something that could come and go.”
His work is centred on the feelings of nostalgia and processes of catharsis.
“I am one of those people that are attached to memories. I think yesterday is better than today and I am hoping for a better future. Mostly I document everyday life and interpret those moments into compositions that I kind of create or fabricate because memory has that play on thing that is subjective. How someone would remember a moment wouldn’t be the same way as you would remember it,” said Zwane.
“I am taking all these memories that I wish I could have had. In my work there are elements that show up quite a lot; you will notice there are bicycles or certain toys within my work. Those are the things that I never really had access to when I was a kid,” he added.
He went on to say, “ For example, there will be one boy on the whole street that you live in that has a bicycle and all of you, you will have to wait for him to feel okay to give you a ride. Basically, it’s about creating memories in the sense that I am in my mind correcting my past.”
Zwane grew up without a father figure in his life hence he said his work is scattered around the notion of one growing up without a father to look up to. He also mentioned how he is interested in the way the past presents itself into the present forming a psychological barrier that keeps people from moving forward.
“On its own it’s just an idea of releasing certain things, forgetting certain things and accepting certain truths of my childhood. There are things that happened that I wasn’t okay with.”
With his work, Zwane hopes to inspire and open unspoken dialogues, he feels the platform is there for him to do that.
“Currently people are telling their own stories and owning certain stories. Most of the time our stories were told by people who never experienced our moments, it wasn’t their lives, and it was just them being observers on other people’s lives. The realness of the story turns to get lost when someone is telling a story from outside.”
Attending at Artist Proof Studios has helped Zwane develop tremendously in terms of his craft compared to when he started. It has impacted on his career.
“Though studying at Artist Proof, I was channelled to find myself and my voice. One of the things I wanted to know when I got here was to know why I was drawing,” said Lindo “Technically my work has changed drastically; I have introduced a feel of setting in my work where I am blurring other things and selecting ideas that I want to highlight, and get people talking and questioning. This is something I didn’t do back then. Back then I was doing things randomly which has changed.”
After graduation his relationship with his facilitator, Sizwe Khoza blossomed from being just a mentor and mentee, today they working together.
“From mentor and mentee, Sizwe and I become friends, from friends to studio mates, we share a studio. The relationship has become more than just based on art,”
Predominantly Zwane does printmaking and drawing, within printmaking, he focuses on Milano cards, he prints double images of the same type of plates. In drawing, he uses powder charcoal and Acrylics.
“Selecting to work with powder charcoal was an idea of how charcoal on itself is an aftermath, is something that has been burnt down, it’s something that was there. In other ways charcoal is something that is there and at the same time not there and that’s how memory works.”
“This is where contemporary art is at, whatever you are using in the medium and how you are using it has to have meaning. It’s no longer about the medium and one being good as a painter or something. It is now about how the medium informs the ideas that you want to talk about,” said Lindo.
Music is one of the things that Zwane finds inspiration from. Musicians like, Michael Kiwanuka and Gregory Porter, are amongst the musicians who play a colossal role in his art. “My work and the series that I am doing are influenced by those guys based on what they are saying in their stories even the title of the work comes from what they are saying in their music. Soul Music is music based on one’s experiences. ”
When talking about his favourite work he has produced to date, Lindo talked warmheartedly about the series of work he is working on that will be part of The Turbine Art Fair from July 13 to 16 at Turbine Hall, Newtown. Umfana KaZero is the title of the other piece that touches on the ideas of him growing up without a father and also changing the perception of people
“I love the idea and how I have done the work. Umfana kaZero is just an acceptance, as much as I was fathered by someone who wasn’t there when I was growing up and never met, I am still his son. I have accepted everything that happened, sometimes other people don’t move on in their lives because of that,” said Lindo.
“Technically l admire William Kentridge’s work, the way he composes his work and the type of mediums he uses. He document things and makes them classic. When you look at his work its simple but how is documented and put together.”
In future Zwane wants to own a studio space that will be big enough to host workshops for young people who want to be artists.