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PPC Imaginarium Awards 2015 Sculpture Category Winner / Mlonishwa Chiliza

PPC Innventive Cement 2
Winner of the Sculpture Category, Mlonishwa Chiliza’s winning piece reflects on his experience of living in a hostel.

Mlonishwa Chiliza came from a working class background and a hostel provided him with a home. The intention to depict an underprivileged kitchen is a reflection of his experience. The kitchen is often the most important place in a hostel, where the residents would gather to chat about social and political issues. This also created a sense of unitywithin the building.

Portraying a two-plate stove with an empty kettle intended to grab the viewer’s attention in getting a feeling of a township life. The medium of cement is hard and strong, which acts as a metaphor for Mlonishwa Chiliza’s life – enduring the hardships of poverty, hunger and hopelessness. These objects are handmade mainly to portray the interior of an informal environment, and the use of cement alludes to the strong sense of permanence. Chiliza thoroughly enjoyed the medium, seeing it as a constructive device to record and share his ideas.

Lastly, the floor replicates “uMlabalaba”, a game, played in most hostels. The structure of a sleeping chair reveals the insufficiency of space that can be experienced in a hostel.