A3E Artist Profile: Lunga Ntila

We are dedicated to bringing you talent from across the South African creative industry by providing a platform for emerging creatives to showcase their work to a wider audience. Driven by this dedication, we have put together a new initiative, the Artist Acceleration and Exposure Programme (A3E) which aims to upskill emerging artists across South Africa, offer a platform for talented artists to reach new markets and help them break into the art scene.

Lunga Ntila

Lunga Ntila is passionate about telling stories through her work, she believes in the use of her art to create narratives that resonate with her audience.

Ntila explores multiple paths of visual storytelling; from directing to video work – in most of her photographs she uses herself as the primary subject. The artist’s work challenges traditional concepts of beauty, both in terms of contemporary and historical standards, as well as modern-day patriarchy and historical presumptions of value and worth.

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We speak to the young emerging artist about her work, her inspirations, as well as the challenges she has faced as a creative:

1. Tell us more about yourself. Where are you from? Where are you currently based and what kind of work do you create?

I am based in PTA East, I do digital collages and I take photographs, and I am currently a Designer at Satori Notebook Co. 

2. When and how did you discover your passion for art?

I think I have always had an interest in art. I did in it high school but I liked the art history part of the subject. However, I always knew that I was a creative and that I could eventually pursue a career in the creative industry. 

3. How did you turn this passion into a career?

Well I wouldn’t say it is a career as yet, I am working hard towards it. I just keep on creating in hopes that one day I will be able to sustain myself through the work I create independently. 

4. In our previous conversation, you mentioned that you started off as a copywriting student, but chose to take the direction of art. What influenced this decision?

I have always been a visual person, the main thing that drew me to copywriting was the act of creating a narrative, when you have a good story it becomes easier to have the visuals that match. Little nitty gritties such as paying attention to tone in order to achieve a certain reaction, are the little details that would excite me about copy.  

5. How would you describe your style of work?

The common thread in all my work is that it is conceptual. Right now, people know me for my digital collages.

6. Can you tell us about your creative process?

My process isn’t always linear. Sometimes I listen to music and will have images stuck in my head. Sometimes it is based on experience, other times it is me visually exploring a theme that I have been into. 
The process could start with a line from my favourite song. The following day I would take a portrait of myself in the garden, then head back to my laptop and see how much I can distort it. 

7. Where do you draw inspiration from?

Music, people, art, fashion, spirituality, reality, dreams, my surroundings and Pintrest.

8. Seeing that emerging artists are faced with a number of challenges when developing their brand, what are some of the challenges you have encountered?

The biggest one has been getting money. How do I create work that is authentic but still get paid to do it/ get money from it? Although in arts and creativity, money is not supposed to be the aim, however, sometimes we need it to be able to improve ourselves and to see how far we can push our limits.

9. How have you been able to overcome these challenges?  

To be honest, I don’t think [I] have completely overcome those challenges. However, the exposure has helped me get into spaces that offer growth, whether it be through interacting with people I look up to, or opportunities that came because of the style of work that I do.

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10. You’re very outspoken and unapologetic about feminism, is this a message you aim to communicate through your work?  

It was the aim at the beginning of my work (well when people started to notice it). Now it is more introspective, it is the medium I use to confront myself, understand myself, and to redefine myself.

11. Who are your biggest influences?

Shesh, a lot of the creative people around me. Some of them are my friends others are acquaintances from one time encounters.

Ntuli creates exceptional work and explores themes that are often overlooked within the creative industry. To view more of Lunga Ntila’s work, visit her Instagram page.

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