'The Birth of Oshun' by Lunga Ntila


Feminism is beauty in South African artist Lunga Ntila’s unapologetic world

February 6, 2018
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By Ayanda Mazibuko / Bubblegum Club*, AFROPUNK Contributor

“My feminism looks like freedom; it is opinionated and unapologetic.” These are the profound words said by design artist Lunga Ntila. She emphasises intersectionality, sexuality and femininity as important foundations regarding her storytelling and work. At her core, she is a truthful artist who encourages difficult but necessary conversations that speak to marginalized people. She manages to tackle subjects that attempt to dismantle a white, patriarchal social order while channelling creative energy to uplift black womxn.

Lunga draws her greatest inspirations from music and art movements such as expressionism, cubism and post-impressionism. She is also inspired by her social structures and conversation, which she refers to as the “sensuality of things”. This can be seen in her expressive portraits. Her series titled “DEFINE BEAUTY” saw her distorting self-portraits as a way to make a commentary on how ideas of beauty are assembled. Often featuring in her own work, Lunga strategically uses her own body to challenge men’s entitlement over womxn’s bodies.

‘Watching me by Jill Scott’ by Lunga Ntila

Lunga has also produced a body of work that speaks back to historical pieces that make white figures the centre. By inserting herself in these artworks, and sometimes manipulating other elements, she is engaging in an active form of decolonisation. This links back to her view that art is a visual manifestation of our time and believes that we look towards these visuals to gain a more coherent understanding of the history that forms part of our current story.

She is a true millennial who uses Instagram as a kind of digital gallery space. The platform is also used as a source that motivates her to create work regularly. Posts on her page are interwoven with images of family, friends and political icons, which adds a layer of intimacy to how she shares her work.

‘Reimagining and Imagining’ by Lunga Ntila

As an evolving conceptual artist and critical thinker, Lunga would like to expand her skills in various industries such as film and fashion. This stems from personal aspirations and her belief in the need for more representation of black people in the creative industry, specifically black womxn. Although her craft resides within the creative industry, she expresses her criticism of its exclusivity which is often fuelled by who is popular. In her view this can hamper the process of innovation.

This blooming artist strives to one day collaborate with the likes of FAKA, Sakhile Cebekhulu and Bambatha Jones. One thing is for sure – Lunga’s political views combined with her artistic eye makes me eager to see where her journey will lead to next.

‘Red Converse’ by Lunga Ntila

‘For Real Look Ma’ by Lunga Ntila

‘The Birth of Oshun’ by Lunga Ntila

*This post originally appeared on Bubblegum Club