Print of the Month January 2022: Zhi Zulu’s ‘Ostrich-sized’

This ostrich aims to identify with anyone migrating to or from SA. Young Oscar, as he is called, finds himself in the midst of the busy Joburg madness, in peak hour traffic. He has all his belongings packed in his tricolour bag (a well-known symbol of migration). As to whether he’s just gotten off a plane from Zimbabwe or on his way to catch a flight to Australia… we don’t know‍. This guy is just trying to find his way home and start again. After the covid pandemic struck, there was a change of plan, and that’s better than keeping your head in the sand. No stranger to civil wars, xenophobia, political corruption or unemployment, Oscar is caught up in the turmoil – he’s a running, flightless bird, a nomad, unsure of where to settle.  

Zhi Zulu’s new silkscreen ‘Ostrich-sized’ is part of her Curious Five series. Inspired by the artist’s experience of African stories being told for tourists and foreigners, The Curious Five is a humorous take on stereotypical, inaccurate and fantastical tales that foreigners sometimes believe – of wild animals walking in the streets of Johannesburg, or people keeping them as pets. The works also seek to represent animals not included in South Africa’s Big Five – a further layer of themes of marginalisation that one can find in many of these colourful silkscreen works.

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