South African artist Mustafa Maluka painted his first portrait while he was still a teenager living at his parents’ home. The picture was about a holocaust victim from Auschwitz. Back then he couldn’t fully understand the brutality of the holocaust but he could connect with and relate to the emotions the man’s face carried. These were the emotions he saw on the faces of people in the township he grew up in. Maluka lives and works in Turku, Finland.
”The faces of the characters in my portraits have a distinctive gaze which speaks to the emotional consonance and dissonance that accompanies rupture and forced human migration. I was born into discord and otherness. My family and 3.5 million other non-white South Africans were forcefully moved to ghettos after being ethnically cleansed from areas declared whites-only during apartheid. Rather than victims, the characters I paint are survivors.” -MM