Fortune Sitole (born 1968)
Fortune Mduduzi Sitole grew up in Alexandra township in Johannesburg and was no stranger to the violence around him. In his art, Sitole recreates the everyday scenes that surrounded him in the townships by combining a unique and symbolic collection of found objects. Sitole moved to the United States in 2001 and currently resides in Venice, California.
I want to foster an awareness of the conditions suffered by South Africans, who create makeshift shelters by optimizing outside space and leftover materials - metal, tires, stones, etc., whatever they can find to build their homes. Fashioning my work as homage to my ancestors, family and community, these pieces are a reminder of the day-to-day life in black South African townships. But shanties exist throughout the world and my art actually tells a story of the universality of poverty. The characters in my scenes are about communities who have overcome adversity and have progressed into the 21st century. Complex dimensions allow a peek down streets at women washing clothes, children playing, girls braiding hair and wandering drunken fathers. Pictures of everyday events, ironically set against the backdrop of vivid dawns and dusks, reflect the darker issues of economic enslavement, discrimination, poverty and hardships.