Through Zizo’s eyes

Zizo Manona of Kuils River is exhibiting at the Central Library in Cape Town.

Zizo Manona knew she could draw well, so she always planned to study art after finishing school but the modern courses at the College of Cape Town opened a whole new world of possibilities for her.

And now Zizo finds herself doing something she never imagined – exhibiting her art-photography at the Central Library in Cape Town.

Zizo, 25, is from Bardale Village in Kuils River. This exhibit is not her first but it is her first solo exhibit.

To date, Zizo has not made much money from portrait sales, so she hasn’t abandoned her day job – graphic design. On the side she also sells her own T-shirt designs, which the Knext Gallery in Cape Town promotes, along with her and numerous other artists’ work.

Zizo described the Central Library exhibition as a “rush job”.

“I had known for a year or two about the library giving open spaces to artists,” Zizo said, explaining that she had put her name down as wanting to exhibit.

But Zizo never heard from the library again so she approached the Knext Gallery and has been exhibiting some of her work there.

Then, suddenly, last month an artist cancelled their spot at the gallery and it was offered to Zizo.

She grabbed it with both hands even though she only had a few weeks to prepare.

Zizo is originally from the Eastern Cape. Her family moved to Cape Town when she was very young and she attended various schools across the city as her family moved around, eventually settling in Bardale Village.

“I was able to draw,” Zizo said. “So I knew that one day in my work I was going to draw.

“I wanted to study art and when I applied at College of Cape Town, I had to choose other subjects and that was a learning curve for me. That was where I discovered my love for photography and graphic design.”

Most of Zizo’s work are photos that have been enhanced with graphic design.

A thorn in Zizo’s side though is the lack of respect she feels the arts professions get, especially with dozens of online tutorials making complicated design skills look easy.

“The perception is that it is very easy or that it is not a serious job. But it is very difficult to get work just as a photographer,” she said.

“But I spend a lot of time researching and a lot of time developing an image into a good design.

“Everything seems easy nowadays, it’s actually sad.”

Zizo’s exhibition, Through My Eyes, will be at the Central Library until the end of June.