FNB Art Joburg Prize Winner Wycliffe Mundopa To Open A Solo Exhibition At Johannesburg Art Gallery

Zimbabwean artist Wycliffe Mundopa was recently announced as the 2021 FNB Art Joburg prize winner, one of the most coveted African visual art prizes paying homage and recognition for artists on the African continent. He receives a cash prize as well as a solo exhibition which opens to the public at the Johannesburg Art Gallery on 31 October 2021.

‘I’m very honored to win the prize this year especially because I have exhibited in South Africa for a number of years now, this really solidifies my ties with the country and the many people who support my work here. It’s also important to me to show in museums and galleries in Africa because most of our work is exhibited abroad. As an artist who’s living and working on the continent, I think it’s important to have such platforms.’ says Mundopa, a Harare based artist from Rusape who devoted his life to painting since the age of 15. He attended the National Gallery Zimbabwe Visual Arts Studios from 2005 – 2007.

Wycliffe Mundopa's artworks consistently speak to social and political upheavals of life in urban Zimbabwe. In this context, the lives of women in particular frame his practice and social commentary. Mundopa’s imagery is audacious and unapologetic, bridging vernacular visual metaphor or Harare street slang with classical genre painting compositions of Dutch masters and post-impressionistic verve in line and color. His work is represented in private collections in U.S.A, Hong Kong, Kenya, Australia, France, the UK, Germany, Japan, Kenya, the Netherlands, Zimbabwe and Cameroon.

FNB Art Joburg is one of Africa's leading art fair based in South Africa that pays homage and recognition to artists on the continent by offering artists prizes,  long-term representation, physical exhibition spaces and free entry for the public. It is fully owned by Mandla Sibeko, an entrepreneur with interests in online retail and agribusiness, in addition to the visual arts sector. Sibeko was the director of the FNB JoburgArtFair, the predecessor of Art Joburg, from 2015 to 2018. 

"It’s exciting to see the evolution of the prize as it celebrates various genres and this year, we’re celebrating a painter and even more exciting is the fact that he’s from Zimbabwe. A lot of focus has been placed on the political unrest with very little being said about the creativity of the Zimbabweans so for us it’s important that we keep highlighting the excellence that comes from that region," says Mandla Sibeko

This year’s winner was selected by a committee consisting of Jamal as well as Nicole Siegenthaler (fair manager at FNB Art Joburg) and Musha Neluheni (curator of contemporary collections at Johannesburg Art Gallery). As the 11th FNB Art Prize recipient, Mundopa joins a prestigious list of previous winners since the launch of the prize in 2011. 

Mungwadzi Godwin

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