It is easy to see how the lush, green tropical settings that define Kimathi Mafafo’s exhibition Alone in Spring, at Ebony/Curated, have taken root in her barren, cramped studio in Woodstock, Cape Town. The verdant, life-affirming season that colonises her canvases and embroidered works offers a pleasing escape for the Kimberley-born artist. A natural setting provides a break from city life and social pressures and duties (she is a busy mother) and entry into a space where she feels relaxed and at peace, she says. Her subjects are quasi-biographical, though not strictly modelled on her. She is much too shy to depict her naked body in her art; these stand-ins enact an activity for which Mafafo might yearn. She implies that she wants to make peace with her body as a mother whose physique has been altered through childbirth and rearing. The title of a small embroidered work, Metamorphosis, speaks of transformation, and the full-figured female figure depicted in the characteristic green ...

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