Courage to step into unfamiliar grounds is a requirement to seek answers for unanswered questions and begin defining one’s identity. The attempt is met with complexities that require an open mind and willingness to explore and question metaphysical landscapes. Family history, heritage and linage are some of the canons to assess and explore one’s identity. Lived experiences as well as those based around us are vital currency for that which informs the artworks of the artists, Thwala & Thabo. The exhibition attempts to reveal how the two artists explore their identity which is pertinent to their careers as up and coming South African printmakers.
Thabo’s body of work is an ongoing exploration of defining his identity. For the artist women that raised him are a starting point in defining his Identity as he views them as a mirror. The women act as a representational reference point that is illuminated in his work - a strong reference that compliments his work. The incorporation of maps and smudged fingerprints help us gain an entrance into his world and informs a constant search for his identity.
Molefe’s Thwala’s recent body of work attempts to define personal identity but gravitates towards African spirituality. Molefe uses elements such as cow skulls, text and ucansi- straw mat in his work. He uses straw mat as a metaphor for the physical and metaphysical where questions are asked as a spiritual site that we often overlook. The Artist uses this subject matter to seek a rite of passage, a means of communication to higher dimensions and to seek the answers he seeks. Thwala’s works is informed by dreams, reading, writing and research. For the Artist, the process of creating artworks using drawing using smoke, candles and charcoal acts as a mechanism to connecting to higher self.
For both artists, production of works as a tool to unpackaging the complexities and navigating within identity in the contemporary time. The navigation overlaps unique experiences that gives an interpretation of how each artist redefines identity.
Thabo and Molefe co-foundered The Arts Company Soweto with a core mission to assist in making art and design accessible and to assist creatives to self-actualize by working with business and individuals by creating an environment that is conducive to the creation of such a society. Initially it was founded to address the need to teach printmaking as a response to the medium existing in affluent parts of society, it has been noted that the medium hasn’t grown much in African communities however TAC seeks to redefine the genre within the South African and International art market.
RSVP is essential, COVID regulations as advised by the government are enforced, entrance is free and all are welcomed.