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Absa L'Atelier ambassador Winifrid Luena opens first solo exhibition

Tanzanian visual artist and 2019 Absa L'Atelier ambassador Winifrid Luena's first solo exhibition, Parsing The Juncture: 110 Billion Praxis, has opened virtually on the Absa Art Hot Spot.
Image supplied: Winifrid Luena
Image supplied: Winifrid Luena

on 4 August 2022. Limited booking slots for visits to the physical exhibition at the Absa Gallery in Johannesburg from 10 August 2022 are open now via

This body of work is a self-reflection on Luena’s continued shifting of states, perceptions and ideas of living, in response to adapting to changes in culture, reality and self-identity - after temporarily relocating from Tanzania to South Africa to pursue his studies at the Market Photo Workshop.

Parsing The Juncture: 110 Billion Praxis is based on the idea of embracing his shifting situation and living between two countries, while searching for ways to reconcile his twin realities in South Africa and Tanzania.

Creating works that allow him to communicate through conceptual art, photojournalism and documentary work, put Luena on the path to gain the fluidity of existence through merging his past and current experiences as he begins to engage with South African culture, society and communities.

“I immersed myself in telling the stories of my own country and what was happening there – particularly during Covid-19. I had to find a way to reconcile the new reality I experienced while living in Johannesburg with the effect Covid-19 had on every aspect of life back home,” he says.

Image by Winifrid Luena: Johannesburg CBD, II
Image by Winifrid Luena: Johannesburg CBD, II

“I am presently studying at the Market Theatre Photo Workshop and wanted to find a way to express my exploration of my reality. The experience has changed me by giving me the confidence to share my ideas and I want to find ways to engage with the communities I live in.”

Luena works across various mediums including photography, video art, digital design and illustration and is interested in psychological and sociological application of art. He uses art to explore different themes related with individuality, identity and history. His journey from artist, to photojournalist, and documentarian encompasses the three disciplines rather than progressing away from, or towards the other – seamlessly shifting between them, in order to better tell the stories he feels need to be told, in ways that communicate them best.

“Winifrid is just one of the many young artists from across the continent that Absa supports, helping them gain a foothold in the global visual art industry,” says Paul Bayliss, Absa senior specialist art curator. “We’re delighted to be able to host Winifrid's first solo exhibition as a reflection of our position as a truly African brand.”

The exhibition will travel to Tanzania in 2023 as part of Luena’s Absa L’Atelier Ambassador prize.

Parsing The Juncture: 110 Billion Praxis includes 20 artworks that celebrate this experience - 10 prints and 10 photographs. Luena applies vibrant, upbeat colours, and expressive and minimal composition that evokes healing, transformation, harmony and aliveness in this new chapter of his journey. He hopes to shed light on important stories and bring real change to the people whose stories he shares.

The exhibition is open now until 9 September at the Absa Gallery. The Absa Gallery is open Tuesday-Friday every week and is situated at the corner of Troye and Main Street, Johannesburg CBD. Pre-bookings for visits are essential and can be made here.

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