Cape Town born Zipho “Tony” Gum is a vibrant and creative artist-in-learning whose collections have been exhibited internationally.
This inspiring Capetonian, who Vogue International dubbed as the Coolest Girl in Cape Town, is a young 22, but has already created an identity for South African art internationally using various mediums, including portraiture representing her dynamic appetite for storytelling that is accessible across borders and transcends class, race and gender.
Last year, she was on the 21st Century Feminism and the Arts panel at the African Art in Venice Forum of the Venice Biennale 2017. Most recent among this extraordinary young woman’s many achievements include the Turkish Airlines “Look To Africa” TV commercial with Didier Drogba, being in the Perez Art Museum Miami Top 20 (PAMM) Picks – Art Basel Miami 2016. She was also a Pulse New York Art Prize Jury Award 2016 nominee, and in the same year spoke at Design Indaba.
Tony strives to tackle issues of representation with iconic, contemporary portraiture and show young people that beauty is both culture and heritage, and that they can be identified as a unity of youth defined by creativity, not by history. Tony represents an unapologetic choice to be an individual.
She has an exceptional ability to make you review everyday life and objects as extraordinary and as something worth reflecting on – instilling an appreciation of what surrounds you. Her vision of making art accessible to ordinary people by using their daily objects has inspired many underprivileged people to understand that art isn’t only for the elite. She unifies people in a way that was previously inaccessible.
Tony’s collections include Indian Lady, Black Cola, uTwiggy, iSnap, Milked in Africa, Free-da-Gum and Untitled – Ode to the Xhosa Woman.
Tony has a deep interest in local art and the development of education art, and takes an active role in educating, facilitating and guiding children through creative outlets. Her long-term goal, given the opportunity, is to create a generation of ‘makers’ to allow children who are otherwise unable to have access to trade, the opportunity to become craftsmen and self-sustainable.