Illustrator, Designer and visionary, Masonwabe Ntloko’s collaboration “Ilifa Lethu” (our inheritance) with rug retailer Airloom has sold out in two days. An excellent, captivating body of work testament to Masonwabe’s commitment to telling stories through his art. The 24-year old from Dutywa, Eastern Cape prides himself in preserving our collective heritage, with more emphasis on his Xhosa roots. His work is a mirror of traditional Xhosa life and its seasons, from initiation, matriarchs in Xhosa regalia and the way life still is for many rural households. His partnership with Airloom saw him design five pieces, creating 30 items per design, which have now all sold out. Lauded by his peers, veterans in the industry and many for his excellent work. The pieces ranged from R545 to R1750.
When asked about the success of the collection sales, Masonwabe answered “to be honest I did not expect for this to be as big as it got, this body was honestly something I was creating for myself and the few that love my work. I thought the sales would be slow, I am pleasantly surprised and honoured to have sold out in such a short time.
HOW DID THE PARTNERSHIP COME ABOUT?
He spoke more on the partnership with Airloom and shared that “last year towards the end of the year, I tweeted that I wanted to make rugs and a friend of mine Thandazani sent me a link to the Airloom website and when I saw the work they had done and how affordable the end products were. I knew that they were the people I wanted to work with because for me the most important thing is to create work that the people who love my work can afford. I don’t want to create great work that people cannot afford. So I reached out to them and pitched the idea to David the co-owner at the beginning of the project. I wasn’t really sold on my design approach to the rugs because what I did not want was to create the same generic African print rugs we always see. I wanted something different”.
So what’s next for Masonwabe? We’re happy to hear that he has a few projects lined up “…but I can’t really talk about them because of the NDAs I’ve signed but I will be dropping something in the next two months”, he says. A Textile Design graduate, Masonwabe’s passion for art is inspired by his upbringing and pushing the culture forward. His work has been commissioned by the Mandela Legacy Foundation (Zindzi & Winnie Mandela), Blue Note Records, Universal Music, Sony Music, Castle Lite, and an incredible partnership with Yogi Sip.
His design style is well-curated, simple with a cultural influence. His style is a modern approach to past lives, bringing about a sense of nostalgia to the consumer of his
ABOUT THE WORK
“Ilifa Lethu” which directly translates to “our inheritance” in IsiXhosa, is a limited-edition body of work by Masonwabe Ntloko in collaboration with Airloom. “This work is inspired by my love for my people’s rich cultural history, AmaXhosa. Statement pieces made with love that can be the pride of your home. We made 30 pieces of each of the 5 different rugs. These rugs were named after some of my family members: My grandmother Nontsikelo, my uncle Mziwethu and my grandfather Sonwabo.
For more of Masonwabe’s work visit: www.masonwabentloko.com