News: Cinthia Sifa Mulanga is part of The Artsy Vanguard 2023

Artsy, November 6, 2023

The Artsy Vanguard is an annual list of the most promising artists working today. The 2023 edition is focused on 10 exceptional talents who span generations and geographies, mediums and messages. Their creations range from sensuous abstractions, to tender depictions of the natural world, to bold, narrative figuration. The artists have begun to garner the attention of the global art community—from participation in prestigious exhibitions, to representation with esteemed international galleries, to notable auction records. And their momentum is only building.


Cinthia Sifa Mulanga doesn’t need a film to persuade her of Barbie’s cultural significance: The doll has been a presence, both literally and spiritually, in her work for years. It was Barbie—a potent symbol of the burden that Western beauty standards place on women, especially Black women—that influenced much of Mulanga’s early thinking about the precarity of modern womanhood, and has informed the distinct visual lexicon that appears in her work today. Using paint, charcoal, and collage, Mulanga builds up richly colored, densely referential images that place Black women in luxe, Dreamhouse-like interiors, surrounded by objects of consumerist desire and emblems of capitalist anxiety—each character seeking comfort, with varied results.