Ralph Ziman

b.1963

Ralph Ziman is a South African contemporary artist born and raised in Johannesburg, and currently living and working in Venice Beach, CA. He works in a range of media that includes sculpture, photography and murals, his mixed media works often incorporate South African traditional beading.

Ziman's work tackles national politics such as the legacy of Apartheid South Africa, gun trafficking, child soldiering and trophy hunting -- topics that extend into global conversations and activist efforts around militarised policing, gun policy and human rights. His multidisciplinary work, which began with a photographic and installation series entitled ‘Ghosts’, and a public art project and global awareness campaign ‘The Resistance Project’, challenges the tumultuous occurrences that rupture in the shadows of the African continent.

Ziman sheds light particularly on the increasing international arms trade that has fuelled the continent's cycles of war, corruption and impoverishment.

“While spending time again in Johannesburg, my birth town, I was horrified by the crime and the proliferation of weapons, the ease with which they can be acquired and the fascination the culture has with guns in general and the AK-47 in particular. The ways that struggle songs lionize the gun. The sound the gun makes, the look of it. I wanted to find a way to explore the subject.”

Traversing the lines between the alluring and unsettling, his use of saturated hues and intrepid gestural figures brandishing replicas of the AK47, result in evocative visual compositions; ‘shocking, beautiful and sad’. The AK-47, a symbol of perceived power and struggle is estimated to have claimed over one half of a billion deaths in conflicts since its conception. Ziman subverts this iconic artillery through embellishing and recreating it with Africana visual signifiers. Employing traditionally inspired beaded artistry, beads which historically served as a trade good, he illustrates the degree to which weaponry has violated not only the past but is pervasive in the current ‘everyday’. Ziman's latest work, The Casspir project launched at the Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town at the beginning of 2017.

Ralph Ziman

Selected Works

The latest work from this artist.

Latest Insights

The latest insights about this artist.

"One interesting installation..."

"One interesting installation..."

Ralph Ziman
Press
14 Jul 2017

The Star Newspaper features Ralph Ziman's Casspir Project on show at the Turbine Art Fair 2017

   View more
Friendly Ghost

Friendly Ghost

Ralph Ziman
Press
13 Jul 2017

The Citizen (Johannesburg Edition) features Ralph Ziman's beaded Casspir, 'Spoek 1', whilst in transit to the Turbine Art Fair 2017

   View more
"Most Instagrammed..."

"Most Instagrammed..."

Ralph Ziman
Press
12 Jul 2017

Wanted Online features Ralph Ziman's installation 'The Casspir Project' at the Turbine Art Fair 2017 in Johannesburg

   View more
The Casspir Project

The Casspir Project

Ralph Ziman
Studio Videos
22 Mar 2017

Johannesburg

   View more
The Casspir Project

The Casspir Project

Ralph Ziman
Studio Videos
15 Feb 2017

An unprecedented undertaking by Ralph Ziman

   View more

No results

Exhibitions

The latest exhibitions from the artist.

Of(f) Africa

Of(f) Africa

Vivien Kohler, Ralph Ziman, Abdulrazaq Awofeso
London
13 Oct 2014 - 15 Nov 2014

LONDON, UK Inaugural group exhibition and launch of Sulger-Buel Lovell. Exhibiting selected works of represented gallery artists from Africa; Abdulrazaq Awofeso, Ralph Ziman ...

   View more

Publications

The latest publications from the artist.

Turbine Art Fair 2017

Turbine Art Fair 2017

Slimen El Kamel, Vivien Kohler, Nú Barreto, Ralph Ziman, Neill Wright, Carolyn Parton
Publication
12 Jul 2017

The Turbine Art Fair (TAF17) brought to you by The Forum Company, returns to the iconic Turbine Hall in Newtown from 14th – 16th ...

   View more
Of(f) Africa

Of(f) Africa

Vivien Kohler, Ralph Ziman, Abdulrazaq Awofeso
Publication
11 Dec 2014

Catalogue nr. 1

   View more