Q & A with Minenkulu Ngoyi

Photo: Anthea Pokroy

Photo: Anthea Pokroy

 

Minenkulu Ngoyi has made a name for himself in the South African art scene over the last couple of years. The printmaker, ‘zine-ster, artist, and publisher studied at Artist Proof Studios and is one half of the ‘zine duo Alphabet Zoo. Ngoyi, has recently joined the Wits School of Art to run a silk screen and ‘zine workshop for second year drawing and design students. Wits Vuvuzela caught up with the Johannesburg-based printmaker to discuss race relations in the local art space.

 

When you started making ‘zines and subsequently Alphabet zoo, what was its purpose?

We always wanted to do publications and printmaking is a form of publication, that’s why we make ‘zines. More than anything, there is no one who really makes ‘zines in the country, the few [‘zine-sters] we have are mainly in Cape Town. We wanted to say a lot of things and zines allow us to do that.

 

What are some of the struggles of being a young, black artist in the art space?

I think the black space hasn’t transformed much, it’s just that names are not used like they were used back then, for example the term ‘black artist’ has fallen away and now people just say ‘artist’. But it’s still the same for black artists, we are still treated the same. Unfortunately we don’t have enough black buyers or collectors so we are still in a very white space. Aseyethu e-art, eyabelungu [Art isn’t ours, it’s white peoples].

 

Do you think we can still transform the art space?

If people change their minds. If we transform our people, so the people we want to buy our work—which is black people—can know more about art it might change.

 

#SOMETHINGMUSTFALL was an exhibition inspired by the transformation climate in the country, how did you all manifest this presentation?

The show was initially intended to be immediate, after the #RhodesMustFall situation but because of the [difficulties of] black spaces. If we had a black space we would have been able to do it but we then had to find a space and eventually we did it. We wanted to be radical and talk about something that was relevant. So instead of saying #RhodesMustFall I suggested we make people guess and go with #SomethingMustFall not to be typical.