The Portfolio: Slondile Jali

When I created this artwork I was very anxious. I had made a big decision, which was to take my daughter to come and live with me. I am a single mother and my daughter swings between me and my parents, who help me raise her. I wanted to be together with her on a full-time basis, which was something we hadn’t done since we were very young.

Creatively, I was filled with inspiration and the excitement of starting something new. A title I thought about was Siyaphi?, because it was also a major change for her.

So I wanted to use that energy to produce something that would inspire both me and her. So I looked at old photos of us with the theme I had in mind. I then started to doodle a few patterns, which is what I normally do. I drew our feet by referencing a photo that we had taken.

I cropped out our feet from the picture and played with the image on photoshop to remove the background so that it’d be easy to use the elements I wanted to use. I then drew over the photo, adding some details, and then scanned it into a computer and then layered it with the patterns I’d drawn separately.

I spent a lot of energy working on my individual style. I figured that I wanted to combine my style of drawing with my doodling patterns and little things that seemed like they weren’t going anywhere.

The more I worked on this artwork, and the more I doodled stuff, the more the patterns and the vision came together. It no longer became a question of siyaphi? It was more siya phambili, which was really great for me and inspired me in terms of handling the pressures of being a full-time working single mom. The way we were standing was so cute because I’m pushing her forward, and I’ve got her back. I really like how that illustration put that out there.

This has become one of my favourite illustrations of all time, because I have so few of them that feature my daughter. I did this illustration for my khalenda (that I print and sell), which was inspired by the birth of my daughter. When you are pregnant, dates become so important. Your life becomes measured in weeks and not months like normal people. Every month is a milestone in your baby’s life.

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