Ordinary people and the rural landscape around me inspires me
“It is as if someone is smiling upon me to lay down an idea in one piece of wood,” is how Justice explain his art. “I love carving, it always feel as if someone is helping me, smiling upon me, to lay down the idea in one piece. The form of the wood and dreams and Spirit generally dictates my sculptures. Although it is ordinary people and the landscape and nature around me that inspires my work,” he explains.
Career kicked of during workshop at Leshiba Wilderness
Justice was born in 1981 and was artistically inclined since his childhood days, developing as he grew up. His artistic career really kicked off in 2003 when he joined a wood carving workshop at Leshiba Wilderness, where he spent three weeks in a program sponsored by the De Beers Company. After coming back home, he worked as a woodcarver, selling his work at Vutsila Art Centre. Fellow sculptor Thomas Kubayi inspired him in many ways and also taught him a lot.
Justice Mugwena let the wood dictate the subject matter of his sculptures
Justice Mugwena in his open air studio under the tree
Justice Mugwena’s tin shack studio harbours many gems
Contemplative angel in Justice Mugwena’s garden
One of Justice’s pieces at Madi a Thavha mountain lodge
Justice says Thomas Kubayi taught him a lot about sculpting
Open air gallery at Justice Mugwena’s workshop
Justice also does functional art such as benches and bowls
Justice works mainly in wood and also do functional art like benches and bowls. He has a full time job and carves when the ‘spirit takes’ him. He has sold several pieces of his art to people from different countries. His “Armchair“ was sold to the University of Limpopo. With his sculpture “Mermaid” (height 3.5 m) he entered the Sasol new signatures competition in 2005. He exhibits some of his sculptures at the the late John Baloy’s “Rural Art Gallery” at Mashamba and also at Thomas Kubayi’s Vutsila Art Centre close to his home-studio. Justice also likes to write drama and poetry and is fond of the Venda traditional art of story-telling.
Source of some of the text: Erika Hauff-Cramer
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