The Curious Five
a series of 5 silkscreen prints
The city is a disorienting space for anyone – humans and animals alike.
Johannesburg is one such city and has been known by many names – Joburg, Jozi, the city of gold – but most suitably in this scenario as the concrete jungle. A mix and match of natural and urban, old and new, home-grown and cosmopolitan.
The Ostrich aims to identify with anyone migrating to or from SA. Young Oscar finds himself in the midst of the busy Joburg madness, at the peak hour for 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 if is 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 covid 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.
Chameleons are known to be masters of disguise but this fellow has decided it’s time to make his presence known. Inspired by his King Kong predecessor, Chameleon asserts his feelings about SA airways and the current Covid travel bans.
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.
This giraffe has landed itself tangled in the hustle and bustle of the city. She captures a feeling that many of us experience when faced with the streets of inner city Johannesburg – a sort of surrendering to the unpredicatable busy-ness of one’s surroundings.
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Zhi Zulu was born in Durban in 1995 and raised in Johannesburg. Having completed her Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Visual Communication at The Open Window Institute, she is now doing her Masters in the same field. She is the founder and owner of Zuluvisual, a freelance illustration studio. She won a Gold Craft Loerie Award in 2018.
Zulu loves to tell stories through illustration: “I make work that eludes to the investigation of my culture. I am a proud Zulu and I enjoy making contemporary visual representations of what I understand is relevant to current society. I have a clear vision of what impact I want to make through my art. Aside from enticing others to discover the rich uniqueness of their own culture, my goal is to influence the education sector by integrating my culture-inspired illustrations with the visual methods of teaching literacy South Africa.”