Inzilo is an isiZulu word meaning ‘mourning’ or ‘fasting’. As in many of his films and images, Modisakeng’s body occupies centre stage in this work. He enacts a mourning ritual by sitting, standing and rotating slightly, all the while throwing a burnt, ashy substance into the air.

Extreme close-ups of his body begin to suggest the shedding of a skin, as though the ash is falling from his limbs as the ritual proceeds. He performs an elaborate rite of passage in which the initiate seems to draw the material for his transition from within his own body.

In the absolute purity and focus of the moment, Modisakeng is turned inwards but gesturing outward, undergoing a mysterious transformation that is at once a private ceremony and a public declaration. 

Artwork courtesy of Artist and WHATIFTHEWORLD Gallery.

Artwork Info

Mohau Modisakeng



Animated video installation

0h 4m 57s