Asanda Kupa in collaboration with Keiskamma Art Project, administered by Spier Arts Trust

Emhlabeni ongcwele  

Embroidered tapestry 

985 x 1425 x 35 mm

Courtesy Spier Collection

Asanda Kupa’s practice is centred on mass protest and social movements – a microcosm of the experiences of those on the margins. Highly emotive, his crowd scenes are moody and murky, bristling with energy and urgency, set against a deep and enduring longing for the land. His images convey contrasting energies; rage against injustice juxtaposed with the spirit of self-determination, frustration but also hope. 

His expressive abstraction of the human form intensifies this energy and highlights questions around crowd psychology – of anonymity, unity and the tension between group and individual identity. 

 Emhlabeni ongcwele is a depiction of hope and salvation, grounded in joy and prosperity as a crowd gathers for religious rituals. These traditional gatherings are rooted in belief and hope for enlightenment and greener pastures. 

Through this collaborative work, Kupa seeks to interrogate the inner strength and certainty of change within individuals who gather en masse with a singular purpose.