hl next level 2018: visual artist kimathi mafafo

Trevor Stuurman
A multidisciplinary artist, Kimathi Mafafo works in various mediums, including embroidery, painting and installations. At the Turbine Art Fair in 2017, she had her second solo show with Ebony/Curated, and earlier this year she was selected as one of 11 artists to know at the Investec Cape Town Art Fair.

how did you get started?

I come from a very creative family, but mainly I got into painting from my father, GC Mafafo, who is a watercolourist based in Kimberley. I got to study fine art in Cape Town and I took it from then to now, practising as a full-time multidisciplinary artist.

did you always want to be doing what you’re doing now?

Yes – I have always being a creative person from a very young age. I still have paintings I made from the age of 12 or so…

do you have particular ‘favourites’ among the works you’ve created?

Yes, I will say now that you ask, it’s my very first body of work – I named them my Blue Series and they are paintings – that I showed in 2015 with World Art gallery in Cape Town.

what’s been the defining moment of your career to date?

Last year I had the opportunity to exhibit my works at the Turbine Art Fair  and had my second solo show through Ebony/Curated. Early this year I had a solo booth at the Investec Cape Town Art Fair and was selected as one of the fair’s ‘11 Eclectic Artists to Know’ by online magazine Culture Trip.

who are the creatives on your radar right now?

Nicole Holgate, Roberta Joy Rich, Thania Petersen and Morris Mbikayi.

and which artists do you look up to?

Zanele Muholi, GC Mafafo, Cinga Samson and Wangechi Mutu.

where do you find your inspiration?

In my day-to-day life, from the plants, beautiful flowers and trees, and also from people in my community; their life stories plant a seed in my creative havens, them I get to come up with a the way to tell these stories through my paintings and embroidery.

what is your earliest visual memory?

My father working on one of his big watercolour paintings: he was showing me how to mix watercolour paint while capturing the image in front of him.

which single place would you recommend people visit, and why?

Cape Town because it is beautiful and offers so much to see and things to do for enjoyment. There are lots of galleries as well, and that helps to promote the accessibility of art.

what’s the oddest piece of art you’ve ever seen?

The oddest thing was to see my artwork printed on a silk scarf – it was awesome, actually. The scarf was a project that I took part in earlier this year with the Norval Foundation.

what is the next project that you are working on?

I am currently working towards a show at the AKAA Art & Design Fair in Paris, France, in November 2018. Learn all about the game changers who are taking things to the Next Level in our #HLNEXTLEVEL2018  issue.