Dzunisani Maluleke is an emerging contemporary artist from Gawula village, Giyani, Limpopo, South Africa, working in printmaking and recently more so in charcoal drawing.
He has two main themes that run through his work. The earlier of the two was a cathartic process dealing with the absence of a father while growing up and the more recent one with celebrating the mother figure’s strength while bringing up her children in the absence of their father. While he draws from his own personal experiences they are universally common to many people.
Dzunisani grew up only knowing the voice of his father over telephonic communication. They finally met in person when he was 21 years old. The telephone towers and lines in his rural landscape drawings became symbols of the duality of his father’s presence yet absence. This chapter unraveled and he consciously decided to choose to approach life with positivity and to celebrate his mother. He honours the strength of all women who go to great lengths to run households and raise children on their own such that all those they love can be happy.
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Dzunisani was born in 1986 and is the first person in his family to work in the fine art profession and he explains that in his family’s cultural traditions this means that he is honoured as God’s chosen one.
He showed artistic talent from an early age and Art was not available as a school subject in many of the local schools so his mother and uncle made special arrangements for him to attend a high school that could provide this for him. This was Hanyani Thomo High School. Coincidentally, this is also the high school that the renowned artist, Phillemon Hlungwani, attended some years before. Moses Maluleke was the Art teacher at the time and both Hlungwani and Maluleke greatly influenced him.
This is one of the reasons why after completing his schooling in 2009 Dzunisani moved to Johannesburg to become an intern for 3 years at Artists Proof Studio. While there he became accomplished in most forms of printmaking (linocut, screen printing, dry point and etching), was involved in teaching children at Noah’s Ark and acted as the Assistant Curator.
He has exhibited in a number of group exhibitions within South Africa and globally.