Zandile Tshabalala - New Now London Thursday, December 9, 2021 | Phillips

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  • 'I have found myself engaging with the term “Paradise” in a different manner, moving away from an idealized representation of “Paradise” to an everyday, tangible perception of smaller “paradises”. This kind of engagement required me to apply not only full attention to my thoughts and emotions, but also an awareness to the moments I often overlook.'
    —Zandile Tashabalala 

    Painted in 2020, Paradise I belongs to a series of work by South African artist Zandile Tshabalala exploring the artist’s reconceived notions of paradise following recent seismic world events. While other paintings depict female subjects in introspective moments in the home, the present work reimagines the Biblical myth of Adam and Eve. A woman extends an apple towards the viewer and, framed by luscious foliage, she invites them to take the fruit. With her painted nails, unabashed nakedness, and confronting gaze, the figure exudes a compelling confidence. As Tshabalala explains, ‘[a] direct gaze is a challenge and a way to divert from [the subject] being present only for the consumption of the viewer’.i  Her representation of the subject seeks to readdress the marginalisation of Black women in Western art historical traditions, challenging representational conventions and carving out new opportunities to express an authentic Black female experience. Reflecting on the revisionist tendencies in her work, she notes, ‘representation for me is very important due to its power and ability to shape one’s mind. The more you see something, the more it becomes normal to you’.ii 

    Works from the series were presented in Tshabalala’s first solo exhibition which took place at ADA Contemporary Art Gallery, Accra (Ghana) earlier this year. In 2021, she was awarded the Kaiserringstipendium, an art prize which has culminated in the artist’s first institutional exhibition in Germany at the Mönchehaus Museum Goslar until 30 January 2022. 


    i Zandile Tshabalala, quoted in Amber Nicole Alston, ‘Zandile Tshabalala’, Nataal, 2 March 2021, online
    ii Zandile Tshabalala, quoted in Amber Nicole Alston, ‘Zandile Tshabalala’, Nataal, 2 March 2021, online

    • Provenance

      mmARTHouse, Johannesburg
      Acquired from the above by the present owner


Paradise I

signed and dated 'ZANDILE TSHABALALA 2020' on the reverse
oil on canvas
61 x 50.8 cm (24 x 20 in.)
Painted in 2020.

Full Cataloguing

£5,000 - 7,000 

Sold for £23,940

Contact Specialist

Simon Tovey
Specialist, Head of New Now Sale
+44 20 7318 4084

New Now

London Auction 9 December 2021