Samantha Maseko also known as Impumelelo is a South African Artist born the year June 1997 in Boschfontein, Mpumalanga. She graduated from Artist Proof Studio where she studied professional printmaking. Maseko currently resides and works in Johannesburg. Her favourite Mediums include Oil painting, acrylic painting, Collage & different print Mediums and she also enjoys working with found materials such as fabric.
“At the end of the day, black bodies are political…” – Amy Sherald
Samantha Maseko’s work tackles the themes of black femininity. Her works embody the African American parfait painter’s words , as she unearths and challenges aspects of blackness clothed in the female form – whether by interrogating hair, colourism or the sexualisation of the black body.. There is a single constant present throughout her many themes and mediums, and that is a need to present blackness as aesthetically pleasing. This desire to bind representations of the black figure is no doubt a result of her love for fashion.
Samantha gathers inspiration from two contrasting historical events such as the tignon laws andthe 21st centuries’ trends leading black women to replace natural hair with synthetic hair, bleach the skin and modifying the body to fit into certain beauty standards. .
However her work does not dwell on the traumatic historical predicaments hence it celebrates the versatility of African (Afro) hair. She molds her subjects’ hair into a popular Nigerian hairstyle known as threading using a heat glue gun, wool and gold dust to create a crown-like structure to emphasize a popular term “Crowning Glory” used by the black society referencing Wooly textured hair.
Maseko’s work serves as a cathartic dialogue between little black girls and black women who have felt dismissed or degraded for wearing it natural.