Phillemon Hlungwani

Phillemon Hlungwani is an accomplished contemporary artist based in South Africa. Known predominantly for his large-scale charcoal drawings depicting scenes from rural life and formal and informal settlements, his work is rooted deeply in a sense of community and the traditional values that endure there.

Many of his drawings include proverbs in his first language – xiTsonga – as ­titles. These proverbs are concepts showing how members of a particular community are either sustaining or betraying the values of the people living there. The scenes he depicts are usually full of motion incorporating figures inseparable from their environments.

When Hlungwani was young he herded and looked after livestock. His interactions with his environment is present in his work; namely; in the presence of animals, trees incorporating both for animals and people. For Hlungwani it is the sense of self and happiness which overrides the sense of complex lavish lifestyle. it is in the simple life that happiness is found.

Image: Courtesy of artist