Themes of Labour, Inequality, Migration and Monetary Value in the Prints of Mandlenkosi Mavengere

Mandla Mavangere is a Johannesburg-based multidimensional visual artist, whose works speak to the diversity and inequalities of labour, the hardships of migration and the monetary value of goods and services rendered. In 2021 he and David Krut Workshop printer Sbongiseni Khulu collaborated on a body of oil-based monotypes on paper. The prints consist of multiple oil-based monotype layers with chine colle, hand working and collage. 

A study of people who migrate and the ambitions that drive them to do it, Mavengere depicts individuals who leave their familiar homes and territories, searching for better fortunes in larger cities and foreign countries. Often many of them temporarily place their dreams on hold to support themselves in the present and adopt any role that meets this need. His works highlight the necessity of paper in the form of his signature hand carved ‘Gondruala’ (a name derived from Gondwana) linocut bank notes, often used as backdrops for the subjects in his works. This fictitious currency stands for “the uncompromised environment of dwelling.” It also represents the hope and potential for the resource-rich continent of Africa which serves as a resource pivot to the globe, whilst the bank notes divulge stories of both success and great loss.

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