Fumani Uses Language to Inform His Drawings

Fumani Khumalo is a Johannesburg based artist and art director at native VML. He was one of Design Indaba’s Emerging Creatives for 2019 and uses charcoal as his art medium. He is fascinated by language and how we use.

During an interview with Design Indaba, he said for a long time, art has been a medium that has been closed off from the public, however, the people represented in the art are not the same people viewing the art.

It is said to acquire or know a second language is to have a second soul. It is quite interesting how language shapes our perception and experiences of the world. When we speak our vocal cords create vibrations which we send flying through the air as pressure waves. Over time we learned to use these vibrations to express and share our thoughts, feelings and ideas with others. “In my art, I aim to unravel the language and dialogue that people use as a means of communication and how that language creates an individual’s experience of the world that they live in, “he says.

“I draw detailed portraits using charcoal. I make use of ink, acrylic paint and markers to add abstract representations of thought and speech. These brightly coloured representations are the subject’s ability to create and ideas presented to the world. We are inventors in our daily dialogue. Each language has its own cognitive toolkit, a set of instructions that speakers of your language in the past created for you. A set of ideas and tools that have been honed and fine-tuned over generations.”

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