Sikhulile Precious Sibanda is a visual artist based in the city of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. She mainly uses her art as an activist tool because through art she found out she was an activist. Through her activism, she realised that she is a feminist because she believes men and women are meant to have equal opportunities in life.
The key theme or subject of her artworks is observing humanity in its present state; where human rights are violated throughout the world. Her works represent a desire to understand communication and the slippage between what is said, what is meant and what is understood.
Through her work, she tries to disturb and provoke, but simultaneously these works are empowering and give pleasure in their draughtsmanship, their honesty and a refusal to simplify the ‘circus’ depiction of every day. The ‘circus’ description being the stereotypes that are attached to people and the way society deals with these issues. As an artist, Sibanda attempts to highlight these struggles and triumphs that women experience and their emancipation in these contemporary times.
Her main focus, however, is on the female figure in her sculptural works; which seem to represent surrogates for the self. It is difficult to see them as portraits of others as she is interpersonally involved with her work and can be described as self-analytic. They seem at one and the same time both in need of protection. They do this with awareness and socially sensitive awareness. The artist assumes a viewpoint which often disturbs and arouses emotions. This is as a result of questioning oneself. Sometimes society mocks themselves ironically, always they seem to be about the failure of the human connection.
There is both an insistence on the importance of intimacy and on the hopelessness of it. Her art is in conversation with the self, as an extension of existing it is human life as vibrant and discontented; real and imaginative; connected and about disconnection; personal and all too worryingly public. Her art is an exposure of the woman’s feelings in a judgmental world that labels and stereotypes people into negatives to suit their insecurities.
Sibanda participated in the Inami International Wooden Sculpture Camp in Japan in 2003. She took part in the Artist Residency Program at the Bagfactory in South Africa in 2005. The artist also took part in the African Regional Summit and Exhibition on Visual Arts (ARESUVA) in Nigeria 2008 and 2nd Pan African Cultural Festival in Algeria in 2009. In 2010 she took part in a Digital Story Telling Workshop in South Africa. In 2012 she attended the Open Forum Conference in Cape Town, South Africa. In 2013 she took part the International Wood Day which hosted a wooden Sculptors’ competition and the following year 2014 she went to China for the same competition. The artist toured China for nearly three weeks with all the Artist who took part in the competition. She works with an NGO called Sexual Rights Centre (SRC), where she facilitates Digital Story Telling (DST) Workshops and an art workshop with their stakeholders who are sex workers and the LGBTI community. Sikhulile Sibanda is also one of the founder members of a feminist collective called Voice of the Voiceless (VOVO) which also uses art to advocate for women’s rights.