Noluthando Precious Mcira, alias Vry_blvk (1998-2021) was born and raised in a small township along the outskirts of Pretoria, Ekangala.
She lived and worked in Johannesburg, where she studied Fine Arts at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa until her passing in June, 2021.
She participated in several shows including Theatre Tshwane Art Festival at the State Theatre (2016), and the Exhibitions State Theatre Gala annually held by Pro Arte. In 2019 she took part in the group exhibition, Women’s Craft and Heritage Month Exhibition, held at the IDC gallery. She was also part of the #allwomxnmatter group exhibition held at Julie Miller African Contemporary art gallery and in online group exhibitions, TAF PAPER online from Johannesburg 2020.
She was a multifaceted contemporary artist whose imaginative expressions evolved with each project and body of work. Beyond being an exceptional and dedicated artist, she was an individual with an energetic aura and enthusiasm that could be felt from miles away. We are grateful to have had the opportunity to share a part of her life’s journey.
Her artwork ’Amcala II’ which she sent during our planning phase in May last year is displayed at ‘Interconnected’ to celebrate and honour her loving memory.
We pray for continuous comfort, strength and solace for the Mcira family, friends, colleagues, and everyone who was touched by her light. May her soul continue to find peace and rest.
Read an earlier interview where she shared her more about her practice with us
What inspires your style?
African traditional coiffures and line making
What sort of experimentation has led you to your current style as an artist?
I had to tap more into the self and look at what best represents me, and it happens that through coiffures I've been performative and informative so I decided to embody that as well within my artistic practice/style
Why did you start making art? How did you kickstart your artistic endeavour?
I've always been an artist. I can recall stories my mother would tell me how I'd rather doodle my reading books instead of actually reading. My brothers are the foundation of my artistic practice. They've stood besides me from the start, criticising my work, grooming me and giving me the support I needed at the time.
What other artists, genres or movements do you draw inspiration from?
Andy Warhol, simply his character. Lebohang Motaung, Laetitia Ky and Buhlebezwe Siwani to name a few.
Brian Montshiwa, a peer of mine, his artistic practice and his being as a whole is phenomenally inspirational.
Music, I believe music plays a vital role within my artistic practice, I'm influenced, inspired and moved by it.
If you could change one aspect of society or social issues through your work, what would it be?
Disseminate knowledge about art into townships and educate people that Art is also a career option, and that a business can be formed through it.
What messages do your artistic expressions convey?
A sense of re-connection, remembrance, re-memory of the self, and emphasis on the importance of Spirituality and Hair, the intersection between the two in correlation to the ideology of how skin can be inseparable from hair with regards to race, within the South African context.
What other Art practice are you venturing into?
Printmaking, Sculpture, Photography, Videography and hopefully in the latter stage - performance art.
Has technology had any impact on your artistic practice? In what ways has it affected or shaped it?
Yes it has. It has forced me to tap into skills I have neglected along the years and has broadened my understanding of materiality and how the viewer engages with the work and possible ways to create virtual and traditional exhibitions with the same experience. It has also broadened the importance of disseminating knowledge in a manner that can be easily accessed and understood by the people at large.
What influences your creative process when working on Art of the Feminine? Does it go beyond culture for you?
Yes it does, music from the likes of Thandiswa Mazwai, Zoe Modiga and Buhlebendalo Mda. My work is strongly influenced by black female musicians - the message their songs convey plays a significant role during my creative process.
Speak a little about your personal relationship with Femininity
I sometimes wish we lived in a world that didn't have such terminologies to describe human beings, gender, etc. As a black woman, your womanhood being tied to your 'female attributes' is quite perplexing, straining and limiting. I believe we are beyond our capabilities, beyond our gender. How beautiful our world would be if we could see each other as human, and not get marginalised or degraded, limited to fit within the category of 'femininity'.