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The Business of the Arts: Collen Maswanganyi

Business Day TV - September 2013

The Absa Art Gallery takes us through Collen Maswanganyi “Footsteps”, in the form of a fine art exhibition. Based on Collen’s personal growth as an artist, he traces the footsteps of those he considers leaders, and how they have evolved along with socio-political factors.

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Inspiring Local Art

Absa Cape Epic 2007

Absa L'Atelier artist Collen Maswanganyi's face is furrowed with concentration as he works meticulously on his latest creation. Hailing from a small rural village called Noblehoek near Giyani in the Limpopo Province, this soft-spoken artist harbours an incredible talent and passion for his work.

Collen painstakingly crafts every single detail in his latest work, drawing inspiration from an event which is far-removed from his peaceful studio in Kaalfontein, Midrand. Collen is crafting one of nine trophies which will mark the winners of the 2007 Absa Cape Epic.

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Bongi Bengu and Collen Maswanganyi at Kizo Gallery

by Carol Brown
Artthrob Issue No.128 April 2008

Well established painter Bongi Bengu shares her first outing in KwaZulu-Natal, province of her birth, with sculptor Collen Maswanganyi who hails from Giyani in Limpopo. Despite the immediate differences in their work, the two evidence a shared interest in their commentary on contemporary life.

Collen Maswanganyi, whose work was also featured on 'Identities', is the son of the famous sculptor Johannes Maswanganyi, whose beautifully carved figures are present in practically every major collection in the country. Maswanganyi the younger works in a similar style but with a contemporary twist. He says that he considers his artistic endeavours in the way that the chieftanship is considered - passed on in a lineage from father to son.

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Communality of Identity in Post-Apartheid South Africa: The Reception and Consumption of the Sculpture of Johannes and Collen Maswanganyi

by Elfriede Dreyer
The International Journal of the Arts in Society

Abstract: The sculpture of South African Venda artists Johannes Maswanganyi and his son, Collen Maswanganyi, challenges traditional arthistorical boundaries on three levels: art versus craft; art versus design; and art versus decoration. Such contestations on formal, conceptual and political levels became evident when their work was exhibited at Fried Contemporary Art Gallery in Pretoria in October 2005 – the artists’ first ever solo exhibition at a ‘high-art’ gallery.

This exhibition entitled The Maswanganyi Family will be investigated in the paper in order to find evidence regarding the character of South African art reception and the possibility of a communal South African identity more than a decade after the initial processes of political and cultural transformations started in South Africa in 1994.

Through this case study it will be shown that that the reception of the artists’ work revealed leftovers of cultural separatist ideologies from before 1994 when South Africa was still under Nationalist regime and thus that arthistorical categorisation and definitions are conditional to the local sociopolitical context, that is, where, when and how artworks are produced and exhibited. In the attempt to demonstrate that audience often determines the status and meaning of artworks, aspects such as the character and content of the Maswanganyi sculptures; the concept of the exhibition; attendance; recorded comments; and sales will be critically scrutinised. The argumentation will revolve around notions of cultural association with sculptural form; cultural abject in terms of classification; voice; authenticity; and authorship.

Download PDF:The International Journal of the Arts in Society: The Reception and Consumption of the Sculpture of Johannes and Collen Maswanganyi by Elfriede Dreyer