South African artist Vuyo Mabheka recently received the prestigious Grand Prix Images Vevey Special Jury Prize Award for his photo series, Popihuise.
The international photography competition attracts entries from artists around the world and Mabheka’s entry was chosen from 564 projects submitted from 65 countries.
Popihuise (a Xhosa vernacular version of the Afrikaans word for doll’s house) explores the artist’s experience through collaged still images, contrasting the childhood memories and the toys he played with in his often difficult life.
Creating a unique series of artwork and installations, Mabheka uses cut out pictures from his childhood, drawings, and photocollage, as a reference to ‘Umkokotelo’, a slang term for reinvented structures.
Mabheka is an alumni of creative platform, Of Soul and Joy – a programme initiated in the heart of Thokoza, southeast of Johannesburg, ten years ago. Of Soul and Joy aims to provide the township’s youth with professional skills in the field of photography.
In a statement, the Grand Prix Images Vevey jury said: “Through his photography, Mabheka seeks out some kind of expressive truth as a way to restore his memories and to find a way to come to terms with the reality of life in a South African township, for himself and his community.”
“Mabheka embodies our mission at Of Soul and Joy, and we couldn’t be prouder of this monumental achievement. His images are able to at once accommodate, engage and challenge audiences’ perspectives – a rare quality that he is only improving as his understanding of photography deepens,” said Of Soul and Joy Project Manager, Jabulani Dhlamini.
Mabheka has also participated in the group exhibitions ‘In Thokoza: Place of Peace’ at Stop Sign Gallery (Johannesburg, 2019), ‘Inganekwane’ at Constitution Hill (Johannesburg, 2021), and NWU Gallery (Potchefstroom, 2022).
Have a look at Mabheka’s award-winning Popihuise photo series below: