The great Pablo Picasso once said “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he or she grows up”. For Nhlonipho Khanyile, an avid art enthusiast from Durban, in KwaZulu-Natal, this was no problem at all.
Having been bitten by the art bug at a very young age, Nhlonipho’s first encounter was with his mother and sand art. “She would apply adhesive in shapes and apply sea sand, the patterns would come out beautifully”, he says. That is the only art experience he remembers vividly before putting pencil to paper. His love for drawing grew when he would watch cartoons… back when Dragon BallZ was synonymous with young boys.
I am fascinated by fine arts. Seeing a masterpiece always gives me a rush. It gives me the urge to produce my own.
As is the case with many artists, Nhlonipho prefers certain styles of drawings over others. His current fascinations are Fumage or Soot painting, as well as scribbling.
What we usually see as mere paintings/drawings, is not as cut and dried for fine art lovers. Nhlonipho describes scribbling as an erratic form of art, where one does not have to follow the directives in order to get to a particular destination. For him, scribbling is all about breaking the rules and pushing the frontiers – something he admits he still needs to put to practice more.
The beauty of art is that it tells a story and it can be used in various ways within different contexts. Some artists express rebellion, build identity or perpetuate ideals. Nhlonipho says that art helps him to speak for himself, as the disenfranchised back child. “Truths spoken with a shaky voice” [a microphone portrait] is his magnum opus. Although he refers to himself as coy, he ironically always has a mouthful to say. He believes that this is owed largely to his strange need to back the underdog, which has developed into an obsession for social justice.
Many of his drawing are mainstream, but his aim is to produce art that speaks to a range of issues. Hence he is fine tuning his prowess so as to exhibit good art in the future. Art that will resonate with the African child. “Depicting our African stories should be for us to do, because we understand these stories better than anyone else”, he states.
— uMlu..??? (@iinhlonipho) April 8, 2017