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 Samson Mnisi  (1971 - )

About: Samson Mnisi


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Lived/Active: South Africa      Known for: paintings

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from Auction House Records.
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Biography from Stephan Welz & Co Johannesburg:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Mnisi's childhood exposure to traditional healing practices, which are abstract, influenced the development of his oeuvre into abstract expressionism.  Symbols, sometimes incised into the human skin, play an important role in rituals and Mnisi incorporated these symbols into his conceptual creations in order to project a deep sense of mysterious communication.  Mnisi commented as follow on his work: "l try to follow [the] old traditions, even though the ritual is different and for different reasons.  I [sic] used them to communicate my own personal history, at the beginning it was about the ritual, later it was about art, now it is a fresh language for me and those who understand it". 

The most frequently used symbols in his artworks are crosses, parallel lines and the arrow head, which each have their own meaning.  In this regard, Mnisi's African abstraction renders paintings having a secret meaning.  The mix in his work with specific cultural symbols, that in itself carries abstract meaning, certainly qualifies as an important innovative addition to modern abstraction.

Edited from: Dr. Fred Scott, Samson Mnisi Exhibition, University of Johannesburg Art Gallery, 2010

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