Kimathi Mafafo (b. 1984) is a multidisciplinary artist whose practise ranges from embroidery and oil painting to installation. Mafafo obtained a National Diploma in Fine Arts from the College of Cape Town in 2007 and a National Diploma in Film and Video from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in 2016. Born in the semi-arid Kimberley in the Northern Cape of South Africa, Mafafo questions historical stereotypes around gender inequality in Africa. She primarily focuses on celebrating the black female and abstracted forms placing them in often verdant imaging, characterised by lush greenery and sensuous drapery that are far removed from the dusty mining town where she grew up. She has recently organized a group of Capetonian woman into an informal traditional embroidery society.
Solo exhibitions include Gestures from The Awakened Mind, Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London, UK (2021); Embolden, EBONY/CURATED, Cape Town, South Africa (2019); Solo Presentation, at Investec Cape Town Art Fair, EBONY/CURATED (2018); CITCC, Cape Town, South Africa (2018); Alone in Spring, EBONY/CURATED, Cape Town, South Africa (2017); Withdrawn, World Art, Cape Town, South Africa (2015).
Group exhibitions include Art Paris, Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, Paris (2022); Facing The Sun, Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, Schloss Goerne, Germany (2021); Knotted Ties, Lobby Gallery, Christie’s New York, United States of America (2021); In [the] Loop, EBONY/CURATED, Cape Town, South Africa (2021); Devils in The Detail, Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London, United Kingdom (2020); FNB Art Joburg, Johannesburg, South Africa (2020); 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, New York,USA (2020); Angel, St Antoine Church, in association with Muse Contemporary, Istanbul, Turkey (2019); Spotlight, LATITUDES Art Fair, EBONY/CURATED, Johannesburg, South Africa (2019); Botanica II, Curated by Adele van Heerden for Art B Gallery, Bellville, South Africa (2019); Textile, Curated By Amy Pike For Dyman Gallery, Stellenbosch, South Africa (2019); Filling in the Gaps, Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa (2019); Connections, Greatmore Studios, Cape Town, South Africa (2019); Also Known As Africa (AKAA) 2018, Paris, France (2018); Colourchart, EBONY/CURATED, Cape Town, South Africa (2017); A Painting Today, Stevenson, Cape Town, South Africa (2017); Summer Exhibition, EBONY/CURATED, Cape Town, South Africa (2016).
Highlights and collections. In 2022, Kimathi Mafafo was shortlisted for the Norval Sovereign African Art Prize. Mafafo’s work is held in multiple prominent public collections, including the William Humphreys Art Gallery collection (Kimberly, South Africa), the Standard Bank Corporate Art Collection (South Africa), Africa First Collection (Israel), Iziko South African National Gallery collection, The Art Bank of South Africa, Oliewenhuis Art Museum, Bloemfontein (South Africa); The Irma Stern Museum, The University of Cape Town (South Africa); Easton Collection (USA); Serge Tiroche Collection (Israel); Jimenez / Constantine Trust (Puerto Rico); Fondation H Museum, Antananarivo, (Madagascar); The House of KOKO, London (UK); Spier Arts Trust, Cape Town (South Africa).