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Lungiswa Gqunta

Lungiswa Gqunta

1990 - Present

Lungiswa Gqunta

Born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, Lungiswa Gqunta completed her undergraduate degree at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in 2012 with a B-Tech Degree in Fine Art Sculpture. In 2014, she moved to Cape Town, where she completed both a Post Graduate Diploma and Masters Degree in Fine Art at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town.

Her work provides commentary on the tools of segregation and oppression, using familiar and domestic objects which, when combined, become weapons. Bedsheets, beer bottles and matches recreate petrol bombs, pointing to the mobilisation of modes of resistance and agency.

Gqunta produced her first body of work in Cape Town, titled Home of Residue, whilst completing a Post Graduate Diploma at the Michaelis School of Fine Art in 2014. She went on to exhibit her first commercial solo exhibition, titled Qokobe at Whatiftheworld Gallery (Cape Town: 2016). In February 2017, Gqunta showcased her Masters exhibition at the Michaelis Galleries, Cape Town, titled Stranger’s Location. Gqunta recently showcased her work in a solo exhibition, titled Poolside Conversations at Kelder Projects in London (Oct-Dec 2017). Her work deals with spatial legacies, specifically the modes of exclusion and oppression within democratic South Africa. ‘Qokobe’ translates from isiXhosa to ‘empty container.’ Gqunta’s colloquial association with this word is the ‘matchbox’ or more directly, the matchbox houses which were provided by the government to people of colour in townships. This particular body of work, on display at Zeitz MOCAA, deals with the issues of displacement, personal and political histories whilst conveying an understanding of home as both a site of comfort and struggle.

Gqunta’s notable group exhibitions include; Site_Specific (Plettenberg Bay, South Africa: 2013), New Monuments at Commune.1 (Cape Town: 2016), Negative Space at WhatIfTheWorld (Cape Town: 2016–2017); Young Now at Hazard Gallery (Maboneng, Johannesburg: 2017). She also forms part of the iQhiya Collective which was founded in 2015 by young black women studying in Cape Town at the time. iQhiya formed as a collective response to the marginalisation of black female agency and voices within the art industry. Their aim is to challenge and engage with ideas of power, gender and representation, filtered through the members’ lived experiences and narratives. Gqunta has exhibited both locally and abroad with iQhiya, who featured at documenta 14 in Athens, Greece and Kassel, Germany (2017). This group of women represent the “unshakable power” within the female and the collective as they work across the disciplines of performance art, installation, photography, sculpture, painting, writing, and video to support and give voice to black female artists.