Where do I belong? Emerging Joburg artist Yolanda Mazwana’s abstract take on life

Self-taught visual artist Yolanda Mazwana’s paintings refer and respond to everyday, human elements of her life. The artist depicts her subjects in textural and expressive brushstrokes. The result is raw and compelling portraits, which make reference to the neo-expressionist movement, a main source of influence for Yolanda.

Born in Port Elizabeth but raised in Johannesburg, Yolanda — who also goes by “Yoda” — says she started painting in high school and “uses just about what I can find to make art: brown paper, white paper, black board and newspaper”.

“Whether it’s mental illness, phobias, relationships or plain imagination, art sort of gives you that freedom to go however you please and create something out of the ordinary, or tell a story,” says Yolanda.

As she uses this year “to keep growing as an artist”, Yolanda shares some of her work, which draws on popular culture, specifically “television series or film. There are a lot of conversations that are had in series that are relatable so it’s cool to take inspiration from that to create art.”

Since starting her career as a painter, Yolanda’s work has gone on to feature in group shows, while getting her foot in the art industry door. “I am still learning a lot about the art industry and it’s no walk in the park but it will all fall into place.”

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