At home with art

This selection of artworks, curated by House and Leisure contributing art editor Zanele Kumalo, touches on the resurgence of domesticity in art, which references scenes from daily life in various ways

Lungiswa Gqunta, Bendisiya Ndawoni? (Where are the blessings?), 2018, WHATIFTHEWORLD

Contributing art editor Zanele Kumalo, was prompted to ask questions surrounding the theme of ‘home’, both literally and figuratively:


What is home?

What are the relationship power dynamics housed in this construct?

How is domesticity represented?

What stories are told by the objects and personalities that inhabit them and the way they are placed together?

What impact does the outside have on what occurs inside?

What do the artists reveal of themselves or their environments through their body of work?


‘This curated round-up explores themes of artists who have interpreted the above accounts and anecdotes in such powerful form — sometimes playful and whimsical, at times melancholic and other times violent — in different mediums including photography, collage, oils, textiles, found (or made) objects, natural dyes and pixels. Why “home”, you might ask? The theme stretches far beyond a familiar physical space, and into an inhabited realm that tells us much more about intersecting social, economic and personal worlds.

Covered are veins of domestic labour, gender violence, economic power, removals, belonging, memories, home as sanctuary, space of rest, patriarchy, the subversion of gender stereotypes, roles, community and cultural exchange, family and lineage, routine and politics.’ — Zanele

Neo Matloga, Dikarata, 2021, STEVENSON

This list is by no means definitive, but does favour the newer voices of emerging artists from the African continent. This tableaux is an important site for reflecting our past and present contexts, especially having had to spend more time at home recently due to forced or elected isolation. These artists explore the polarity between home as refuge, or the very place you need to escape from — and everything in between.

Natalie Paneng, In My Head, In My Home, 2021, Contributing artist in Dwelling responding to the theme: ‘home’

‘In the case of Aviwe Plaatjie’s subjects [below left], they seem unaware of viewers; their gaze is directed elsewhere. This device along with the settings – largely domestic – and their poses – lying, reading, sleeping or listening to music – engenders that they are inhabiting an intimate space to which the public isn’t privy.’ — Mary Corrigall (Daily Maverick).

Aviwe Plaatjie, Sithi aba, 2020, EBONY / CURATED. Photography by Dillon Marsh

Cinthia Sifa MulangaPreference until proven standard II, 2022, Botho Project Space

Michaela YoungeRoom 016: He was married to sorrow and had little patience for domesticity, 2021, SMAC

Along a similar vein, this year, at Investec Cape Town Art Fair, the popular SOLO will explore ‘how artists have reacted to intimacy and introspection caused by the pandemic, as well as the effect that exchange and collaboration have on artistic practice as a whole’.

Among the participating artists are Johannes Phokela (South Africa) of Eclectica Contemporary, Brett Charles Seiler (Zimbabwe) of Everard Read, Thebe Phetogo (South Africa) of Guns & Rain, Luyanda Zindela (South Africa) of SMAC, Osvaldo Ferreira (Angola) of This is Not a White Cube in Angola, Duduzi (DuduBloom) More (South Africa) of Berman Contemporary in South Africa.

Sitaara Stodel, Dirty Laundry, 2021, Salon 91 Gallery

Andrew Kayser, Untitled, 2021, THK Gallery

Visit Investec Cape Town Art Fair to see more of how these and other artists explore the concept of home, from 18-20 February 2022 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, book your tickets here.    @investeccapetownartfair