Welcome Danca

Welcome Danca is another young KwaZulu-Natal artist who has emerged from what may be termed the ‘school’ of the late Trevor Makhoba (qv.). He worked and studied under Makhoba for four years. Danca would have come to wider national attention a few years ago, but for the demise of the Brett Kebble Art Awards for 2006. One of his paintings, Ikhiwane leihle ligcwala izibungu (plate 54), a lurid and frightening image of a female prostitute, was selected as a finalist for a prize just before the awards collapsed. Interviewed before this, Danca had the following to say about the meaning of his painting: ‘She looks gorgeous, but inside is full of dirtiness. These women [a reference to the figures on the right] are mourning for their husbands and children who die of AIDS’.1 In the same article, Kathryn Smith, one of the selectors for the Kebble Awards commented as follows:

It is a provocative picture … The moment we saw it we were seduced. What is interesting is the way that he has portrayed this girl. The colour palette is other-worldly, and there is an interesting tension between the magnitude of the subject, the Aids pandemic, and the relatively small size of the picture. The moral degeneration is starkly contrasted with the traditional initiates emerging from the darkness.2

The prostitute figure in Ikhiwane elihle ligcwala izibungu has three banknotes as a ribbon in her hair; her skin is marked with the repetitive image of an erect penis, and three death’s heads adorn her leopard-skin loincloth. Danca’s reference to her body being ‘full of worms’, recalls the obsession that some Surrealist artists had with putrefying flesh and sex, best seen in Salvador Dali’s painting The Spectre of Sex Appeal of 1934 (Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation, Figueras, Spain) (Fig. 7). The moral in Danca’s work – so evidently a response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic – is that death can also come in the guise of beauty.

Hayden Proud

  1. Staff Reporter. 2005. ‘The Chosen Ones’, Independent on Sunday, p.17.
  2. loc. cit.

Born Umlazi, KwaZulu-Natal, 30th March 1978. Training Makhumbuza High School, Umlazi; 3rd Year Graphic Design at Durban Institute of Technology, Durban; Taught for four years by the late Trevor Makhoba. Exhibitions 1997: African Art Centre – group exhibition with Sibusiso Duma and Trevor Makhoba; 1999 African Art Centre – Izwe Lethu – Our land, group exhibition AAC; 2000: African Art Centre – Makabongwe Ophezulu – Thank God For Creativity; 2000: African Art Centre – Sezenjani Ngengculazi – What are we going to do about AIDS?; 2000; African Art Centre – Asibuke Abantu – group exhibition; 2003: Heritage Day Durban Art Gallery; 2003: Exhibition of works submitted to a national competition for a portrait of King Cetshwayo. 2003: Art Roots Exhibition 2003, Durban Art Gallery. 2004: African Art Centre – Summer Exhibition; 2004: African Art Centre – joint exhibition with Sibusiso Duma: 2007; Fresh Paint Gallery, Durban – group exhibition. Awards 2005: Nivea Start Award Finalist First Prize. Collections Killie Campbell Collections, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban; Museum Services, Pietermaritzburg; KwaMuhle Museum, Durban.