Artist spotlight: Sihle Shozi and his colours of heritage

By Lindelwa Masuku

Meet Sihle Shozi, a vibrant and innovative artist hailing from the townships of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. His journey as a multidisciplinary artist is deeply rooted in his upbringing, having been raised by a single parent and drawing inspiration from the tapestry of township life. 

Shozi's artistic canvas mirrors the interplay of emojis and domestic garments, juxtaposing the old with the modern, the past with the future. 

Through his work, he seeks to shift traditional narratives, infusing hope and upliftment into ancestral spirits while representing the new generation. 

With a palette of charcoal and oil pastel, Shozi paints a vivid picture of African identity, reclaiming connections to the land and commemorating the struggle for true artistic expression. 

Our esteemed Visionaries in Focus guest, artist Sihle Shozi hailing from Kwa-Zulu Natal. Image supplied by artist

Join us as we delve into his artistic journey and vision.

1. Can you tell us about your background and how you became an artist?

I've been an art lover since I was a kid from Primary School, the love keeps on growing as I practise and also by meeting people who guide me through their belief on the skills and talent I have. Those people I mentioned are Mr Masoka, my High School teacher, and Mthobisi Maphumulo, one of the South African artists who inspires me. I will also mention the DUT Fine Art Department.

2. Can you walk us through your creative process when developing a new piece?

For every art piece I have to go home and document my grandmother for references since she's the subject matter of my work. Also do some research on the items/ materials that I will be using to complete the artwork.

ELEGANT MAGOGO, Mixed media on fabriano paper, 2022 Sihle Shozi. Image supplied by artist

3. How do you stay inspired and motivated in your art practice?

To keep my self inspired i think it a matter of believing, learning and observing from artist who's been around in the art world more than i've been the likes of Mthobisi Maphumulo, Sphephelo Mnguni, Wonderbuhle Mbambo, & Sthenjwa Luthuli.

4. How do you handle criticism and rejection when it comes to your art?

For my point of view criticism is one of the most important things to go through as an artist in order to grow. I don't mind being criticised. 

INTOKOZO, Mixed media on fabriano paper, 2022 Sihle Shozi. Image supplied by artist

5. Can you discuss a specific piece of work that holds a special meaning to you?

Sihle Shozi's art embodies a powerful tribute to his grandmother, symbolising heritage and resilience in every stroke. Each piece intertwines past and present, reflecting a collective story of African communities while bridging the generational gap.

6. How do you see your art fitting into the contemporary art scene?

I think it plays a big role in shifting how we used to see things and changing or choosing how to represent ourselves. It also gives a different dimension on how we can identify ourselves in contemporary spaces.

SIBONGILE, Mixed media on fabriano paper, 2022 Sihle Shozi. Image supplied by artist

7. How do you handle the business aspect of being an artist?

To handle the business aspect I think you need to keep yourself focused and allow yourself to learn from people who have the knowledge and also keep on practising.

8. Can you discuss any challenges or obstacles you have faced as an artist?

At the moment I think I'm following the right path as an emerging artist. I have not faced any challenge that prevents me from practising and also from participating in exhibitions that I want to participate in.

UFUNDA KWEZAKHO, Mixed media on fabriano paper, 2022 Sihle Shozi. Image supplied by artist

9. Can you tell us about any upcoming projects or exhibitions you have planned?

I'm having another exhibition in November this year but it is more of a group exhibition, with 12 artists that will be participating including myself. The exhibition will be at Rebirth Art Gallery in Durban, Musgrave.

10. How do you see your art evolving or developing in the future?

I see myself getting more recognition, more establishment as an artist, the goal is to grow and inspire other upcoming artists. all that will be achieved by keeping myself focused, practising, participating more in exhibitions and also learning as I grow.

UKHULU MANDLOVU, Mixed media on fabriano paper, 2022 Sihle Shozi. Image supplied by artist

In this insightful interview, we've ventured into the creative realm of Sihle Shozi, an artist passionately crafting a visual symphony steeped in heritage and contemporary resonance. 

Shozi's art mirrors the interplay of tradition and modernity, capturing the essence of South African life and identity. 

Through his unique fusion of emojis and domestic garments, he redefines narratives, breathing hope into the ancestral past while embracing the aspirations of a new era. 

YEHLA MOYA, Mixed media on fabriano paper, 2022 Sihle Shozi. Image supplied by artist

His journey is an inspiring testament to the power of art in connecting generations, cultures, and the human experience. 

As readers, we're invited to witness a vibrant artistic journey that celebrates resilience, familial bonds, and the colourful tapestry of African heritage.

Article Tags

Visionary in Focus

Sihle Shozi


Township life

Connecting generations


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