Artist Spotlight

Zandile Tshabalala: The True Meaning of Confidence

Zandile Tshabalala is a painter born in Zoeto, South Africa. She is only 21 years old but has gained recognition through her work. As she says, she has always been creative, ever since she was a child, however, she never considered it more than an enjoyable pastime. Something that seemed impossible changed into her job and passion which, today, critics look at as she explores confidence and strength within Black women. 


Her art is used as a narrative for Black women like herself. In a series of self-portraits the attention of the pieces is directed at the eyes, lips, nails and ears. These together build a collection of accentuations which represent confidence and strength. Paired with semi abstract surroundings and figures in comfortable postures creating a new meaning for strength in Black women. 

Thinking bout' you, 2019
Acrylic and enamel on canvas
25 1/5 × 27 1/5 in 64 × 69 cm
Portrait I, 2020
Acrylic on canvas, 51 × 61 cm


She is changing the narrative of the powerful black women to one which is more human. Zandile wants the confidence to be reflected in her painting but not the typical one which black women are known for. Therefore the pieces reflect not only strength but comfort within the women. 


Her paintings have semi abstract surroundings with the use of a lot of color and patterns such as leopard or zebra. They are all used in a way to contrast each other creating an idea of perseverance, just as she does in her life. These too symbolising diversity and contrast to further drive focus on the figures painted which are presented in powerful yet relaxed virtues. Her main aim in her pieces to show humanity within Black women against the more common narrative built by society today. Which is also why nature is very prominent in her paintings as well, alluding to representing the true essence of black women. She introduces a new perspective on Black women and who they are - confident and comfortable.

Paradise I, 2020 Acrylic on Canvas 24 × 20 1/10 in61 × 51 cm


Where to find her: 

Insta: zandiletshabalala_ 

The Medium is the Message
In Conversation with Zandile Tshabalala : UnitLondon

Artist on the Rise: Zandile Tshabalala : Art She Says

Photographs : Artsy 



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