Rich Mnisi is set to host his first solo exhibition in September. Picture: Supplied.
Rich Mnisi is set to host his first solo exhibition in September. Picture: Supplied.

Rich Mnisi to host his first solo exhibition - and it has nothing to do with his signature designs

By Thobile Mazibuko Time of article published Jul 9, 2021

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South African designer Rich Mnisi is expanding his brand as he ventures into furniture design.

The award-winning designer has partnered with Southern Guild to host his first solo exhibition of collectable furniture, titled Nyoka.

In this collection of rugs, chandeliers and other objects, Mnisi plays around with shapes and fluidity, using different materials including bronze, wool, resin and glass.

Nyoka draws inspiration from Mnisi’s family history and African mythology and plays with the duality of fear and beauty epitomised by the image of a snake, which gives the show its title in Xitsonga.

To better explain the title, Mnisi said it started with a dream when his mother had nightmares.

“My mother dreamt of a snake on her back. When she turned to look at it, she saw an intense green creature, frightening and fluid, dangerous and beautiful. My journey started here and led me to Congo’s Bushongo mythology and its creator god, Bumba, the first ancestor. He vomited up the sun, Earth, moon and stars, and then the rest of the natural world from that acidic pain and discomfort. Unlike most of our world’s origin stories, this one proposes that the beauty and life of our world could be purged instead of birthed,” he said.

Nyoka looks at the beauty that comes from darkness. “To live is to embrace this duality. To accept that joy and tragedy, light and darkness, dreams and nightmares are connected, orbiting and defining each other,” Mnisi explained.

The exhibition will start on September 23 until November 11.

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