June 20, 2024

Beauty Arts

The Arts Authority

MY STORY| Living with albinism inspired me to create beautiful art

MY STORY| Living with albinism inspired me to create beautiful art
Athenkosi Kwinana got to showcase her work at this year's Investec Cape Town Art Fair. (PHOTO: Berman Contemporary)

Athenkosi Kwinana received to showcase her function at this year’s Investec Cape City Artwork Fair. (Photo: Berman Modern)&#13

Athenkosi Kwinana from Corana in Mthatha, Eastern Cape, expended most of her childhood shocked by the stigma and stereotypes attached to albinism, especially from people outside of her residence. 

The 27-year-old’s enthusiasm for visible art started off when she was a little woman and struggled to observe Tv mainly because of her very poor vision, brought on by albinism.

Albinism is a genetic ailment that has an effect on the body’s ability to develop melanin, the pigment that colors pores and skin, hair and eyes. 

For Athenkosi, the hobby she utilized as an escape grew to become a passion, and her operate was not long ago showcased at the Cape Town Art Good.

She shares her tale with YOU.


She suggests she made use of artwork to prevent her staying various, now she’s applying it to educate about albinism. (Photo: Berman Up to date)

“When I was growing up, I struggled to enjoy Tv set, for the reason that of my inadequate vision, so I’d stand proper in front of it, blocking everyone’s look at. My mother, Shumikazi Kwinana, decided to give me paper and a pen, and I’d draw to distract myself from seeing Tv set.

Even though I was surrounded by like and help, this built me realise that I was different. Navigating my way outdoors home was extremely difficult for the reason that I would get bizarre reviews, but I knew wherever to go and where by not to. 

I attended Dreamland Primary School, a non-racial college, and I’d easily get along with white youngsters mainly because of my pores and skin tone but the other children didn’t rather recognize looking at a black kid without having melanin. 

Everyday living at faculty was excellent right until the schoolday finished. My pals would go dwelling but I’d continue to be at the rear of at aftercare, and I’d frequently experience isolated and diverse because most of the little ones by no means needed to enjoy with me, or even touch me.

Drawing was my only mate, so I’d sit in the corner with my paper and a box of crayons and draw. 


She states she aims to constructively reimagine the illustration of Albinism in South African black communities, in African contemporary artwork. (Image: Berman Modern day)

I educated myself to attract from a young age, even while I’m visually challenged. Individuals appear to be to obtain it fascinating that I only use my eyeglasses to zoom in on items from a length. 

Artwork was my escape and remedy when I was a kid, now I use it to teach and raise awareness about albinism.

I’ve moved all-around a large amount. I went from Mthatha to East London, then Johannesburg, in which I finished significant faculty at Bryanston Large School.

I’m glad we generally lived in multi-racial neighborhoods exactly where folks were being conscious of the reality of albinism and did not believe the myths that some folks perpetrate in black culture.

I afterwards realised that the detest and stereotypes bordering black individuals residing with albinism was a final result of miseducation and misconceptions. In conventional black communities, persons with albinism have been often linked with undesirable luck and named ‘freaks of nature’, and that is why we have been topic to abuse.That’s factually erroneous, of study course, and through my art I intention to modify how we’re represented.


Illustration matters to Athenkosi and she’s representing herself as a result of her do the job. (Photo: Berman modern day)

The arts and amusement sector doesn’t have a background of diversity – we’re only starting off to get there now. When I grew up seeing Television set in the late 1990s, albinism was not represented, and you’d barely ever see actors and actresses with the situation.

The absence of representation pushed me to investigate diverse drawing strategies so I could communicate to the globe.

Read through More| MY Tale | Drawing on tissue paper was not quick – now it truly is my signature

I enrolled at Walter Sisulu College to examine great artwork and I have recently completed my master’s in wonderful arts at the University of Johannesburg.

I have published investigation get the job done on residing with albinism in South Africa and the planet, and it’s available at the applied art division of Walter Sisulu University.


These are the artworks she marketed at the Cape Town Artwork Fair, Blue (remaining) and iShumi. (Photo: Berman Present-day)

Quickly sufficient, I was discovered by Berman Modern, a Johannesburg-based mostly artwork gallery which promotes work by local artists. They assisted me use for the Cape Town Artwork Good so I could showcase my operate.

Two of my artworks, Blue and iShumi, ended up bought at the fair.

I’ve also exhibited at the annual summer months present of Berman Contemporary in Johannesburg Senses and Lenses, curated by Gcotyelwa Mashiqa the once-a-year winter season present curated by Morgan Kunhardt or Berman Contemporary and Jointly with East London Acquiring Albus: Reframing the Representation of People today Living with Albinism, at the Ann Bryant Gallery.


Athenkosi is grateful for the assist gets from her sisters, Nangomso (still left) and Milani (ideal), and mother Shumikazi. (Photograph: Berman Up to date)

I’m happy to have had aid to do this from my mother and my two small sisters, Nangomso and Milani Kwinana.

I want my get the job done to be timeless and instructional, when individuals see my get the job done it must notify a story and teach them about the issues.

My guidance to persons living with albinism is to just take delight in you and enjoy oneself the way you are.”