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Cape Town Art Fair Samson Mnisi

Samson Mnisi at the Investec Cape Town Art Fair

At the Cape Town Art Fair, with special curation by Asisibenze Art Atelier; the local and international art community will have an opportunity to experience Samson Mnisi’s story through some of his compelling artworks.

The Investec Cape Town Art Fair will be hosting its 10th-anniversary edition from the 17th – the 19th of February 2023. The fair is the largest contemporary art fair in Africa. It boasts 100 exhibitors, 23 000 visitors, and 6 000 VIPs. The Art Fair has proven to be a key platform where the African art Market and the international art world meet. It’s provided a reliable and exciting platform for the local art community such as collectors, galleries, curators, and artists.

Initially started 10 years ago as a laid-back event for local art audiences, the Cape Town Art Fair eventually went international in 2016 with the assistance of Fiera Milano, an Italian events company. Making this year’s theme within its decade period; ‘The Notion Of Time’ well suited. The theme is appropriately wide-ranging and encompasses ideas related to the past, present, and future, including the ever-important concept of change that comes with the passing of time both for humans and the world around us.

With the promise of delivering a world-class art fair, this year is certainly no different as Asisibenze Art Atelier joins in the fair curating works by the legendary late Samson Mnisi; whose works challenge the viewer to think far beyond the physical as his pieces sing our hidden lives and thoughts to life.

Samson Mnisi

Samson Mnisi’s paintings ask one core question: What is Africa? His reply? “It is not a begging bowl, a raised fist, bankrupted state, black face, but a subtracted and abstracted forcefield”. Mnisi projects a psychic inscape – inner worlds explosive, turbulent, crossected, circled, obsessive signallings of Nietzsche’s Eternal Recurrence. Motifs repeat themselves. The artist portrays life as variations of a single dance. Colours are bold, sometimes noisily acidic. But it’s the artist’s physical drive that emerges most powerfully – the muscularity of vision, fearless, dionysian.( – Ashraf Jamal )

Born in Lesotho, Samson Mnisi, otherwise known as Rain Maker studied Fine Art and photography at FUBA Academy. Upon completing his studies participated in group and solo exhibitions both locally and internationally. He became categorically known as a post-war abstract expressionist, finding himself practicing both painting and poetry. However, it was his exposure to indigenous meditative and healing rituals that went on to influence not only his lifestyle but his themes and techniques.

Mnisi’s exposure to indigenous meditative and healing rituals influences his work. One begins to understand how artistically his techniques come across as abstract. We also further understand this in one of his comments on his creative process. “My art is a symbolic language of an abstract thought. I use patterns, lines, symbols and colour to find a contemporary South African expression. I see myself as part of the timeless tradition of celebrating the human godliness, from the first rock painting to the present time and beyond. I am interested in using art as another element of alchemy, where through it, you can evoke and even heal certain emotions.”

‘Man Of The Hour’

His most recent solo exhibition before his passing titled ‘Man Of The Hour’ was curated in collaboration with Asisebenze Art Atelier and Studio Nxumalo at Keyes Art Mile in Rosebank, Johannesburg. It had been a while since there was a solo exhibition. The art community was excited at the opportunity of viewing some of his latest works. Especially as many understood the impact of his work.

Curators Ashraf Jamal, Ivy Rihlampfu and Refiloe Mnisi together with guests looked forward to being challenged by his creative signature. This is evident in his fused symbols, geometry, and Abstract Expressionism. They echo knowledge only known far beyond the physical realm.

However, looking at the theme of the 10th edition of the art fair, “The Notion Of Time”, and the titling of his most recent solo exhibition, “Man Of The Hour”, one can’t help but imagine how his presence at the fair goes far beyond the physical. But perhaps is a moment in time when the Spiritual realm and the physical coincidentally meet.

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