Born in Eshowe, Bongi Bengu left South Africa in 1978 when her family went into political exile. Her schooling was in Switzerland, and later at Waterford Kamhlaba in Swaziland.
Most of her work looks at the world from the point of view of women in Africa. It is often about the roles of grandmothers, mothers, and daughters – and life’s burdens which they are compelled to pass on to each other. Her images are not overt or very obvious, though – she works with metaphor and with layers of meaning, often depicting ordinary, domestic objects.
This painting is an example of her love of pattern, texture, and her pleasure in colour.
Talk About This
Here is what looks like a still-life painting of a beautiful wedding cake. But look more closely: does anything seem strange or
surprising about it?
A wedding cake would normally signify happiness and celebration. Does any aspect of this one make you feel uneasy instead? If so – what, and why?
What about those cups, or jars? Whose faces are those? What expressions do they have, and what feelings do they give you?