Artist Proof Studio invited Collen Maswangayi to come work with our printers from August – November 2022 to develop a new body of prints. It has been many years since he created any prints, almost 20 years ago, recalls the artist. Collen had full access to the printing studio and worked under the guidance of an experienced master printer, Pontsho Sikhosana. In the studio, Collen talked nostalgically about his years as a student, the last time he attempted creating a printed artwork, trying to remind himself of the process of printing. Mentioning that his lecturer was APS co-founder and executive director, Kim Berman.

The prints from his first session picked up from the cropped compositions like the reliefs he started in 2019. Using vibrant colours, the subject depicts the familiar subject of traditional Africans in their dress and lifestyle. Referenced from the free-standing sculptures he’s known for.

Collen comes from an artistic family; he is a third-generation sculptor who primarily works in the medium of wood. His father is the well-known sculptor Johannes Maswanganyi and his grandfather Piet Mafemani Maswanganyi was a carver of note as well.

In 2021, the Claire and Edoardo Villa Will Trust granted the Edoardo Villa Extraordinary Award for Sculpture to Jackson Hlungwani, the first of its kind to be awarded to an artist posthumously in acknowledgement of Hlungwani’s significant contribution to South African sculpture.

In addition to the production of Alt and Omega: Jackson Hlungwani, a significant publication on his work, the award honoured his memory and the woodcarving tradition by supporting another sculptor, Collen Maswanganyi, to develop his practice.

As part of his award, Maswanganyi established a workshop titled Carving X, with the aim of continuing his familial legacy, in particular the transfer of skills and knowledge, which began with his grandfather and his father.

The workshop took place between September – October 2022, during which he collaborated with fellow sculptors Richard Chauke, Amorous Maswanganyi, and Ben Tuge. The artists worked together to produce two large scale collaborative works, as well as a series of smaller independent works, using wood from a fallen Oak tree at NIROX. The works were showcased alongside pre-existing works by each artist at the Villa-Legodi Centre for Sculpture, in an exhibition that explored the role of collaboration, grappling with questions of authorship, individual and collective identity, and the role of community in the making process.

The Claire and Edoardo Villa Will Trust, together with the Villa-Legodi Centre for Sculpture, continue to provide ongoing support to Maswanganyi and Carving X, acknowledging the importance of the wood carving tradition in South African sculpture, and aiding its development. The Trust was happy to partner with Artist Proof Studio to further support Maswanganyi’s travel and accommodation during the recent showcasing of his work at the Investec Cape Town Art Fair 2023.





Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!