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Sku promotes gender equality through art


Bulawayo visual artist Sikhulile Sibanda, aka Sku, says challenges faced  by women because of patriarchy motivated her to fight against the system.

Sku made her latest sculpture titled F-Tree (Feminist Tree) in Tanzania at last year’s KAN Festival Artivist in Residency.

“I see many challenges women face because of patriarchy,” Sku told Standard Style.

“So, I always want to show those challenges that women face and prove that patriarchy is the cause of these challenges women face.

“Even us as women, we don’t realise that the reason why we have so many things challenging us in life is  because of patriarchy, which always puts men on top. if there was no patriarchy, I think our lives will be better or there won’t be so many challenges.”

She said the secret behind her success in the arts industry dominated by men, is viewing herself as an artist not a “female artist”.

“I feel I have the same creativity as any other artist,” said Sku.

“I have faced challenges like where people would view my work as if I had been assisted by a male sculptor.

“Now it’s hard for people to think that women are capable of doing something that they assume only men can do.

“That has been my challenge from the beginning and I think most women in the industry face the same challenges too.”

She said there are instances where women artistes are looked down upon, especially when there are visiting artistes.

“We also face challenges when you get married, you end up not doing as much as you will want to do,” said Sku.

“The pressures of patriarchy will be all over you and that’s why there are less women in this industry.”

Sku was part of 16 visual artists who went for a Resident Artist Retreat at Khami Lodge organised by the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo in partnership with the embassy of Switzerland under the theme Climate Change.

The retreat was aimed at broadening and sharpening one’s creativity.

Sku worked on a piece titled The Mosaic of Pain among others where she looked at the Earth and challenges brought about by climate change.

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