Collage Artist Yonela ‘Dodaizm’ Employs Stitch-Like Visuals In Her Work

With a magnetic take on collage-mixed media and distinct stitch-like visuals of the human body, many of which employ the female anatomy, Yonela ‘Dodaizm’ Doda is quickly making a name for herself in the art world.

The Cape Town-based Fine Artist student is doing her final year at Ruth Prowse School of Art, while her work demands space. Her exhibition, ‘And So The Stories Ran Away’ is currently up at the seminal Zeitz MOCCA museum and explores her conception of an African folktale. “It is a children’s exhibition, mainly for children and adults who wish to explore their inner child,” she notes.  

Yonela touches on what she describes as ‘Surreal and Dada-inspired’ collages, this giving rise to the artistic persona Dodaizm – a combination of her last name and work style. Doda’s work is a medium where her emotions connected to traumatic events – all live. “One of the messages I convey is healing, going through the distortion, and coming out as someone new. I try to acknowledge the unacknowledged trauma as an act of emotional release, and embrace the beauty of growth and pain.” 

The artist shares insight on her debut exhibition, as well as the creative inspiration behind ‘Dodaizm’.

When did your creative journey begin?

My creative journey began when I was very young, just before my late uncle passed, who was and still is my huge inspiration and motivation. But, if I were to pinpoint where my Fine Art journey started it would have to be in grade 10. My heart was fully set on doing something creative after school, whether that was Fine Art, going to drama school, or studying costume and makeup for film or theatre.

Where do you draw inspiration for your artworks?

I draw inspiration mainly from myself and my experiences. I deeply connect with the physical and emotional aspects of my own life and I find a lot of my inspiration from the things I wish to fix within myself. The relationships I have with the people that I am connected to are also a source of my inspiration. I deal with distortion and finding healing and purification from my own pain. My interest is in Extended and Prosthetic Bodies, sexuality, intimacy, soul ties through sexual exchanges, the Catharsis Theory and the Philosophy by Edward Casey which he calls Chorography. I want to explore all these things within myself, and through my art. The needle and the thread is my way of communicating or mending those things. I draw huge inspiration from the works of Wangechi Mutu, Bogdan Rata, Zanele Muholi, Penny Siopis, Berlinde De Bruyckere, Annegret Soltau, Lunga Ntila and Patricia Piccinini, just to name a few.

Please tell us about your exhibition ‘And So The Stories Ran Away’. 

The And So The Stories Ran Away exhibition curated by Liesl Hartman and Richard Kilpert is currently up at the Zeitz MOCCA. It is a children’s exhibition, mainly for children and adults who wish to explore their inner child. I exhibit alongside artists like Jill Joubert, Lynette Bester, Isabelle Grobler, the Michealis School of Art, Ruth Prowse School of Art students, as well as artists from the Nyanga Arts Development Centre. It is a very fun and interactive exhibition if one wishes to touch and play around with the artworks. We were asked to create an artwork that is inspired by an African folktale. The work that I exhibited is a sculpture/installation titled Nomatsikiri which is a folktale my mom told me while growing up, but changed a bit. It’s a story about an old woman whose spirit haunts the forest where she has died. Her spirit is heard through her singing in the forest. There’s also a young boy named Nqhanqha who discovers the spirit of Nomatsikiri in the forest. He later learns that her spirit is lost and that she wishes for her spirit to be put to rest.

Any memorable moments you can recall in your creative journey?

Right now it would have to be the Zeitz MOCCA exhibition. I didn’t know that my first exhibition would be at such a gallery/museum space. I’m very grateful for that.

What’s next for Yonela

Well, I am currently working on my body of work in my studio at the Ruth Prowse which I will be exhibiting as my graduation work. What’s next for Yonela is creating a brand for the collages I do on the side, and hopefully collaborate with fashion designers and other mainstream brands and just keep making exciting things!

All images supplied.

Between 10 and 5