Cinga Samson is an artist based in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, who works primarily with oil paints. Ahead of his exhibition at Blank Projects, we speak to the artist about the young man in Diced Pineapples and what it’s like to be working on a new solo in Umtata.
Tell us about the Diced Pineapples collection?
With each of the three works I wanted to present a man in his beauty as a young man, feeling exotic, even a bit desirable, complex, strange, weird, unusual… Beauty and mystery were the feelings I wanted the man to have, but in the centre the intention is that this is a young man that is desirable in his own sense. We have had a long history of the kind of man that feels a duty to be a strong man, a hunter with an element of aggression – and I have brought that through in the paintings. There’s always been a sense that the easier, gentler man has been regarded as less. The idea behind Diced Pineapples was to bring all of that across.
Why the title?
There’s a song by an American artist Rick Ross called ‘Diced Pineapples‘ that is about ambition and wishful thinking – it’s about how we wish ourselves to be. In the chorus there’s a mixture of a young man caught up in a love situation with a women. Those are the problems of a young man, the problems of youth, so there is a common theme between the Diced Pineapple paintings and the soundtrack of the same name.
How is life in Umtata?
At the moment I’m in Umtata preparing for you’re my next solo in June at blank projects. Umtata is beautiful and warm. The vegetation is incredible. There are insects floating about…for an artist that’s all amazing. I’m in a positive space, it’s wonderful to come back here in the Eastern Cape and be in touch. Somehow travelling and being away gives me perspective and a sense of viewing things. It takes me out the box and is fantastic for creativity. I see more things. The environment is exciting and I want to work that to my own advantage and bring in something fresh. I feel that that we need emerging artist of colour in South Africa, and that does good for the people of this country, and it’s a critical reason that I keep striving to do beautiful work. Everytime I do a new artwork I want to push it to be different from the previous one. I take drastic measures to unlock my mind. I hope that being in this space here will do that. I’m feeling nervous as this is the very beginning of the process but I’m planning to do some sort of installation, with sculptures. I still have some time to go to work it all out!
Cinga Samson will be exhibiting at Blank Projects from 8 June to 1 July 2017.
This article was made possible by the Nando’s Art Initiative.