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WORK OF THE WEEK | 18 March 2024

CAG.3263 Elton Sibanda, Faded, 2022, screenprint, 46.5 x 33 cm. Purchased, 2023. © the artist.


Faded (2022) by Elton Sibanda is a self-portrait in three layers.

Using a restricted palette of black, pink, and blue, the artist echoes his self-image in pixelated form. The resulting screenprint was inspired by a young African man who dresses in a particular way and echoes contemporary style in Zimbabwe, particularly during the annual Africa Day (25 May) celebrations. Sibanda emulates this style, with his dreadlocks down and dressed in a check jacket and chain.

As such, it is both a representation of his own culture and a response to feelings of isolation. ‘The sense of disconnection is because when I came here to Ireland I felt like I’m isolated,’ the artist reflects. ‘When I came here, the first thing there was Coronavirus. I didn’t know anyone.’ Then, starting college, he recalls that he ‘was there alone trying to make friends and it wasn’t working.’

By creating a self-portrait, therefore, and placing himself at the centre of the image, Sibanda reminds himself that ‘I’m there’. It is perhaps also an expression of dislocation, leaving parts of the self behind as one adapts to a new phase of life.

Elton Sibanda began printmaking as part of the Young Print Collective with the support of Cork Printmakers and Cork Migrant Centre. In late 2022, he exhibited his work alongside Amal Hope, Fionnuala O’Connell, Reem, Viktoria Kondratieva, and Yeaneah O’Connell at Nano Nagle Place and Faded was acquired for the National Collection in 2023. He is currently a student at MTU Crawford College of Art & Design.

Faded (2022) by Elton Sibanda is currently featured in ALL EYES ON US, which must close this Sunday 24 March.

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