Billie Zangewa

Soldier of Love

Galerie Templon is holding its first exhibition of work by Malawian artist Billie Zangewa. The South Africa-based artist has chosen to mark this special occasion with a message of hope and unity.

Billie Zangewa’s background is as an engaged artist. A golden-fingered embroiderer, she has gradually garnered recognition on the African and international art scene. Her autobiographical works skilfully combine personal experience with universal subjects, from the hustle and bustle of urban megalopolises to ordinary activities in the life of a woman and mother in today’s world. Daily life thus serves as a pretext to engage in a political reflection on identity which insightfully challenges gender stereotypes and racial prejudices.

The artist is now taking her work in a new direction, moving away from purely domestic scenes to tackle topics with more of a universal and timeless dimension. Scraps of silk and various colourful, shiny textiles mingle delicately in the exhibition’s ten or so figurative compositions, painting narrative portraits that extol love in all its many facets. As the artist explains, “The exhibition is entitled Soldier of Love because I believe that especially at this time in history that we live in, universal and personal love is something that we have to fight for. I consider myself a soldier of love.”

The artist

Born in 1973 in Malawi, Billie Zangewa lives and works in Johannesburg. Using samples of vibrant silk, the artist hand sews sprightly embroideries who take inspiration from contemporary life scenes. Often the heroin of her figurative compositions, she mixes personal experience with the universal: the bustle of urban megalopolises as well as the actions of ordinary life come alive on the fabric. Everyday life thus becomes a pretext for political reflection on identity, and questions gender stereotypes and racial prejudice.

View more