In Conversation with Ntombiyombuso Nombuso Dowelani: A Post-modernist Visual Artist

Ntombiyombuso Nombuso Dowelani, also known as Nombi, is a Newcastle-born, Johannesburg-based visual artist who documents her personal experiences using different mediums of art.

As a post-modernist artist, she delves deep into notions relating to fractured identity, sexuality, living as a black woman in the 21st century, South African culture, as well as breaking stereotypes and cultural norms. Dowelani’s striking creations allow the viewer’s imagination to run wild and create their own perception of the work.

The 20-year-old chats to us about her work and journey in perfecting her craft.

When did your interest in art begin?

I knew I wanted to pursue a career in the art industry at the age of 12. I was greatly inspired by my primary school arts and culture teacher, who was an artist. I was just fascinated about how we brought lines to live, I wanted to draw like him.

Talk us through your personal artistic style; how would you describe it?

I do not have a specific style, I am influenced by multiple art movements, mostly pop art, abstract expressionism, and surrealism. I can go from creating realistic pieces to abstract pieces, but they all have one thing in common; colour, a lot of my work is vibrant and colourful.

For some artists, it takes years to discover their artistic style, whereas, for some, it is something they find at the beginning of their journey. Please share with us how you discovered your artistic style and what inspires it.

I have always worked well with colour, it’s a highly expressive element, it’s always been easier for me to put colours together, in a way that made visual sense.

Through your work, what message do you aim to send and/or feelings do you intend to invoke in the viewer?

As a postmodernist artist, I strongly believe that visually some of the works do not have a universal meaning, we all view them differently. I am is against the idea of universal meaning, against the idea of having a universal truth/ultimate reality/meaning, we are all individuals, and we all understand things according to the knowledge we have. I let the viewer decide how they interpret my work.

Are there any passion projects that you’re currently working on that we can expect to see?

I am currently working with other mediums I haven’t used before, photography and videography, I am also working on my ‘Sexmore’ series of prints and paintings based on sexuality, sex, and body positivity.

Connect with Dowelani on Instagram.

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