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MUNTHE ART MONDAY: CINTHIA MULANGA


Please introduce yourself and tell us about what you do.


My name is Cinthia Sifa Mulanga. I was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, where I currently live and work as a visual artist. Initially, I studied printmaking, but later developed more interest in working with other mediums such as acrylic paint, charcoal, collage, watercolor, and a bit of fashion intersecting with art. Recently, I have been working on multimedia NFTs.

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CINTHIA is wearing MENEDIG jacket and ENTHUSIASTIC pants.

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Can you name some other female (artist) that inspires you and explain why they do so?

The female artists that inspire me amongst many others are:

• Elizabeth Colomba, a French painter, captivates me with her meticulous attention to detail. Her subtle use of color palettes draws viewers in, evoking the essence of the vibrant era of the Black Renaissance.

• Ayana V. Jackson, an American photographer and filmmaker, deeply inspired me during my second year of studying printmaking. Her thorough and intensive research reflects in her work, particularly in her exploration of the complexities of photographic representation and the camera's role in shaping identity, particularly within the context of Black identity.

• Megan Gabrielle Harris, an American painter known for her work with oil paint, skillfully navigates escapism in her art. Her breathtaking use of colors and scenery transports me into her paintings, creating an immersive experience with every viewing.

• Njideka Akunyili Crosby, a Nigerian artist, employs collage as a medium to bridge the narrative of her Nigerian roots with her adopted American culture. Through a combination of photos, paint, colored pencils, charcoal, and textiles, she creates striking works that evoke a sense of nostalgia within me.

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Could you explain more about how being a woman has affected your career?

I've been quite fortunate to work on certain projects, brands, and be part of many great exhibitions that have made a significant change in my life and career, especially considering how rapidly my career has grown since I started pursuing art in 2018. Being a woman hasn't been the only factor affecting my career; my age and choice of style have also played a role. Some say my style resembles that of an old master’s or a male artist, which, while flattering to some extent, actually reinforces the idea that male artists set the standard in the art world. This diminishes the potential of female and young artists to excel. During my first to third years in printmaking, I took on many projects dominated by men, revealing the gender bias within the art industry. However, I've come to realize that success in art depends more on determination, drive, passion, and storytelling than gender. Although being one of the few women in certain projects and spaces sometimes made me feel uneasy and presented challenges in finding relatable experiences, I was determined to be there.


What has been the most challenging aspect of being a woman in the arts?


That is a very tricky question for me. I am not sure how to answer it. I had no passion for visual arts growing up; I admired it, but it wasn't what I wanted to do. So, when I found myself falling in love with art, I developed a great passion for it. It has now become my baby, and, of course, I get super sensitive and protective over it. So, the idea of removing the sentiment out of what I now call a business/brand is still challenging for me.

Then there is vulnerability. Because my work is about the experiences of black women, one of them being my own, there is an extent to which I can share of myself, and that has been challenging. Being in an industry that is male-dominated, there is a lot of "everyone for themselves" mentality going around, which creates an environment of extreme toughness that sometimes leaves little to no room for vulnerability.

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What would you like people to notice in your artwork?


What I want people to notice in my work are several elements, but if I had to choose three, it would be the architecture of the space, the intricate details within it, and the body language of the figures depicted. My choice of color palette is intuitive rather than deliberate. Above all, I aim for viewers to engage with the artwork, interpreting it through their own thoughts and memories.

CINTHIA is wearing JANNA cap and ENTHUSIASTIC pants.