Multi-disciplinary visual artist and photographer Tony Gum, continuously describes herself as an artist in learning as she believes she is constantly finding new ways of learning in her field.
Born in Langa Township, Gum started falling in love with the world of art at an early age. This is where she saw a huge gap in the visual artist platform and began to grow her social media presence.
Her work centres around everyday life in South Africa which draw a lot of inspiration from her experience as a Xhosa woman in the 21st century.
Gum’s rose to international fame began through her collection entitled “Black Coca-Cola” which compiles a number of self-portraits displaying well-recognized Coca-Cola bottles centering the collection around an American logo. In the collection, she questions the role of the West through the rise of consumerism within the context of female labour and colonialism in the country.
Her recent visual series, Milked in Africa, currently on show in New York, is a series originally started in 2016, where Tony Gum uses photographic self-portraiture to emphasize the role heritage and culture play in capturing African art history with an aim to explore contemporary narratives of exploitation and commercialization.
Gum uses self-portraiture, where she is painted green and staged with milk in various stages of production throughout this exhibition. The milk serves as a way to challenge the pervasiveness of the post-colonial agenda, not only in South Africa but throughout Africa and its diaspora.
Currently featured in a documentary by multi-choice, in it, she illustrates profound respect for those who walk with her in spirit and flesh.