GUILD Residency welcomes multi-disciplinary Eastern Cape artist Sisonke Papu
Papu was born in 1992 in New Payne in Mthatha, Eastern Cape. They also go by the name KHNYSA, meaning “the one who brings light”, which was given to them by their ancestors when they accepted their spiritual calling to become an igqirha (the isiXhosa designation for someone who has been called by their ancestors to heal). Their work explores spatial, emotional and spiritual temporalities by engaging ideas of everydayness, the real and imaginary, dreams and memory, the unseen as well as the mythical, ritual, sonic and cosmic.
A former English Literature lecturer at Nelson Mandela University, they also hold a BA Honours (Cum Laude) from the same institution. Papu has presented academic papers both locally and internationally, published their poetry in Aerodrom, New Coin and Puerto Del Sol, and penned the essay about Andile Dyalvane’s use of symbology featured in his iThongo catalogue. In 2020 they were one of eight emerging artists from the Eastern Cape to participate in the inaugural Bodyland Incubator Residency facilitated by Athi-Patra Ruga in Hogsback, and were named the 2021 Fellow of One Beat Residency, an initiative of the United States Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Papu is the founder and director of ISPILI Network, which fosters dialogue, collaboration, innovation, and entrepreneurship among young creatives in the Eastern Cape.
Over the course of their five-week stay, Papu will expand on their current body of work, continuing their exploration of various materials such as oil pastels, acrylic inks, clay and wood. An integral part of the GUILD Residency programme is to connect visiting artists with local artisans – Papu will collaborate with local wood carvers to realise some of their wood works, instruments and sculptures.