Zandile’s work is meant to encourage the black woman to take pride and charge of their sensuality, sexuality and their bodies especially in a time whereby woman who live and express themselves boldly are muted or looked down upon.
Zandile Tshabalala is a visual artist born and raised in Soweto. She is currently completing her BA(FINA) at the University of the Witwatersrand. The mediums she uses most are acrylic, oil paint and, at times infuses the two with some sculptural elements and puts it all on canvas. She tends to revisit and make reference to the works of painters who came before her, and interpret or rework the works in the way she sees fit for her narrative and relatable to her practice. To name a few artists, the works of Kerry James Marshall, Njideka Akunyili-Crosby, Cinga Samson, Nandipha Mntambo and Henri Rousseau have stood out the most in influencing the artist’s way of thinking and working through her paintings.
In her work she is interested in topics of representation particularly the representation of the black women in historical paintings. The artist noticed a pattern whereby the black woman in paintings was usually placed at the background and starts to disappear almost as if she is not present or is placed in compromising situations that reinforce the idea that the black woman is inferior and should be marginalized. The artist felt a strong need to challenge these ideas and give back the black woman’s voice in her paintings by placing the black female figure in a powerful position that allows her to be in control of her own body and the gaze that is exchanged between her and the viewer. The artist then starts to tap into topics of beauty, sensuality and the relationship between the black female body and the landscape.