DUMELA!

Puleng Mongale (b. 1991), a self-taught South African visual artist, explores identity and spirituality through photography and digital collage. Inspired by the black working-class women in her daily life, she weaves memories, musings, and observations into her art, focusing on the women in her life, both living and departed.

Mongale’s digital collage work is a unique blend of the familiar and the surreal, engaging in self-portraiture that reflects and reconstructs her relationship with heritage. She delves into her generational lineage, using photography to pay homage to the women in her family, ensuring their narratives are not forgotten.

 

Mongale is interested in the idea of home and prefers to study her family’s history, which has helped her find the representation she has long sought in popular media. She believes that the answers we seek about ourselves may not necessarily be found in mainstream media but rather in our homes, families, and oral histories.

 

Initially driven by dreams of becoming a writer, Mongale obtained a BA in English and Communication Science from the University of South Africa. She trained as a copywriter in 2015 and worked at several reputable advertising agencies in Johannesburg. However, in 2019, she faced retrenchment, which prompted her to take a chance at being a full-time artist. At the age of 29, she picked up a camera for the first time and never looked back.

 

Her work, showcased in various group exhibitions globally, reflects her journey of resistance, agency, and faith. In a world where she feels unseen, art becomes Mongale’s defining medium, allowing her to shape her identity on her own terms.

Exhibitions

  • Africa Foto Fair_Abidjan_2023
  • Umbhedesho Group Show by everything in; out_Johannesburg_2023
  • Abadali Group Exhibition_J.P. Morgan_Johannesburg_2023
  • The Fold Group Show_Doyle Wham_London_2021
  • Beyond Group Show_Cologne_2021
  • Terrains of Possibility Group Show_Rele Gallery_Lagos_2021
  • Heaven on Earth Online Solo Show_Doyle Wham x Latitudes_London_2021
  • Ambiguous Group Show_MmArthouse_Johannesburg_2020