With “Checkmate” I want my audience to approach it as a game of chess. For a long time, men have always been Kings and the women have always been pawned as a lesser sex. For me checkmate is a celebration of women rising up to their God-given equal status with men which I consider as victory. In this artwork stands a man high, mighty and proud as a king and the measurements of status: how economical power measures the status of gender, man being on top of everything since ancient days. The red stiletto is a symbol l use to depict power. It is a metaphor which sums up the finger that 'oppression'(sic) cunningly hides behind.  You cannot oppress what is weak, it is inconceivable to oppress something that does not challenge you or one is not intimidated by.

Are we men intimidated by women?

Fear is a lie that demonizes one to oppress what threatens them or seems even more powerful than them, if not more complicated than them. So this has made me to understand that the reason of misuse of religion, culture and tradition have been to the advantage of the masculine gender. l believe it is because most men(power) are threatened by these complex, intellectual human beings that are women and that is why women have always been oppressed. We have a saying that encourages and it goes, 'Vuka emaqandeni...' literally meaning 'rise up to your potential'.
Checkmate serves as a celebration of women rising from the ashes as it shows on the right a woman stretching out her hand and holding her own crown to stand her ground with pride, having realized that power also belongs to her and she has a right to put it on and off and still remain a queen. This piece is a celebration of women both great and small, what they go through, child bearing, abuse all that kind of stuff and yet they have not been swallowed to nothingness. Checkmate represents all Queens actually declaring to their counterpart gender,  checkmate!

  • Checkmate
  • Nkosinathi Thomas Ngulube
  • 2020
  • Mixed media
  • Artist's left thumbprint in signature bottom right
  • 171 x 220 centimeters
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