This Eastern Cape artist is running a stunning series of portraits for Women’s Month
by: Sabelo Mkhabela - 4 August 2016
Qhama Masawana’s drawings are done using pen and acrylic paint on cartridge paper. The 25-year-old fine artist from King William’s Town in the Eastern Cape, recently released a new portrait series called Beauty of Difference.
Like most of his work, the series focuses on women, “I enjoy painting female portraits the most,” he says via email. “It might be because I’m usually surrounded by women – my siblings and cousins.” The idea of the series was to celebrate women who embrace their culture, from well-known women like Nhlanhla Nciza, Unathi Msengana, Zonke Dikana and Criselda Kananda, to ordinary women whose pics Qhama felt like re-interpreting.
Qhama says he owes his “traditional” style to his rural upbringing. He was raised by a family that followed culture, and those sensibilities show in his pieces. “It engages the viewer with our roots and the beauty of black people’s cultures in south Africa,” he says of his work.
The University of Fort Hare arts graduate says he decided while doing his matric in 2008 (after winning a few art competitions) that he would be an artist. He keeps on creating while waiting for his breakthrough moment.