Navigating African masculinity in mixed media art

Internationally recognised South African illustrator Loyiso Mkize’s mixed media portraits.

When renowned South African illustrator Loyiso Mkize isn’t working on superhero comicbook Kwezi, he creates thoughtful mixed media portraiture that moves viewers both locally and internationally. His surreal artworks have become a tool through which the creative expresses his views and ideas.

Loyiso Mkize

Usually created with oil paints on canvas, his prints explore African themes. According to his website, Mkize explores what shapes the modern man, his environment, predisposition and culture. Speaking to Vuka, Mkize said, “There is one piece titled Spirit of a Warrior which is a very direct story about the conflicted psyche of a black male in the present world that we live in, where he finds himself no longer in a position of authority or in a position of control and command. So, you’ve got this male figure who is bearded, has lines on his back, there is images of loss, there is images of power, there is so many conflicting images which help to reflect what I view as the predicament in the African masculinity.”

Loyiso Mkize

His work also focuses on the relationships between men and women: “I was talking about love, I was talking about war, I was talking about beauty, divinity, I was talking about miseducation, I was talking about the dynamics between African men and women, about that relationship that the male principle has with the female principle in the African context,” he said.

Loyiso Mkize

See the rest of the collection on Mkize's website.

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