Dumile Feni

Dumile Feni, South African, b. 1942

Dumile Feni is one of South Africa’s enigmatic artists who played an important role cultivating a unique form of expression that piercingly articulated the repressive social, economic and political conditions of his time. Regarded as the master of turbulent imagery and the Goya of the townships, his artworks speak directly of personal experience, indicating the extent to which the political and personal had become inextricably intertwined in South Africa. The draconian system’s disregard for black people led the artist into a 23 year period of self imposed exile. Dumile Feni arrived in the USA in 1978 and settled in Los Angeles in the midst of the Black Arts Movement. He was exposed to the critics of the movement who sought what they called a Black Aesthetic (separate symbolism, mythology, critique and iconology), resulting in his style transforming, with most of his drawings completed in LA serving as compositions for his sculpture.Applauseis a powerful piece and is dominated by the severe expression of the figure. Dumile’s strong use of line in his sculpture creates an atmosphere of devastating intensity. It’s impossible for the viewer not to absorb the message in this piece. Of his work Dumile said: ‘my meaning or message is universal, human suffering and the state of humanity is universal; only the locations are specific.’

Coming soon.