Photography by Jamal Nxedlana

Lunga Ntila builds her practice from rhythm

A journey accentuated with the purchase of a Nikon D5200 in 2014, photographer and digital artist Lunga Ntila explains, “as soon as I did that, I became more aware of capturing the details of life.” Self-portraiture was a natural progression in her practice as she started working with herself when models were not easily accessible. In this, she found her voice as a creative.

Influenced by movement and rhythm, inspiration is often tapped from music. “It starts off with movement and noticing the patterns around me and trying to capture them to create a bigger image. I break it apart and put it back together again.”

During her time spent at Vega, she learnt the intricacies of Photoshop, “that changed everything for me because I became obsessed with reimagining how we see things”. Finding photo manipulation while experimenting with styles, she expresses that she has an interest in working with moving images and seeing how they translate in a 3D presentation.

With a process that is not linear in nature, images are often captured first and then left for some time to give the artist a chance to reflect on the images taken. There are times that Lunga brings philosophy into her work, “it could be influenced by basic principles of life or basic theories and how I interpret them.”

The motive of her work is to inspire her viewers to move against norms and to be “critical of their intentions, of who they are, of what they are doing and where they are trying to go”. Further, she sees her photo manipulation practice as a means of making allowance for alternative experiences and perceptions of truths.

Lunga’s artistic mind – a space where Picasso, Van Gogh and painting with light amalgamate into a single image. Her mother’s curtains become backdrops for her stage. She is a performer – her own performer. She performs for the lens. She puts on her makeup and contemplates her outfit. In many ways, Lunga’s work is filled with performativity, she is a performance artist creating work that transcends time and space. Her method of working makes her work more accessible to audiences as she shares her expressions online. “There is so much more that I want to explore and tap into.”

Her latest quest is to investigate how she could bring movement and photography into the realm of garments. With a hope to work in the world of fashion, Lunga expresses that her thinking is around printing her images on material and making them into garments.

Lunga Ntila is one of the spotlighted artists for the Miller Genuine Draft Art and Design series.

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