Illustrator Phathu Nembilwi uses language of design to celebrate women

Venda-born illustrator Phathu Nembilwi has been finding her happiness in art her whole life. For her, design is a language, and speaking visually is a way of living: studying graphic design at Tshwane University of Technology made perfect sense. Currently based in Randburg, Joburg, the 24-year old works as a full-time illustrator.

Phathu finds inspiration in her everyday life and the people around her. According to the illustrator, Phathu’s need to create and communicate through her art fuels her but her ultimate goal is to inspire women with her work. She’s always been influenced by strong female role models —  she describes her mom as “strong, selfless and loving”, and is grateful that she taught her how to love herself, and how to persevere no matter the circumstances.

Her other influences are also strong women: her best friend, and famous women like authors Toni Morrison and Maya Angelou, and artist Katherine Wood. These influences are clear in Phathu’s images, which are bright and playful, and contain subject matter exploring women and their everyday lives.

Her work celebrates the natural beauty and strength of women, even as they go about normal everyday activities. Her illustrations could be visuals representing any of us, but they’d be equally suited to hanging on the wall of a gallery. Check out her Instagram for beautiful daily doses of inspiration.

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