I spoke to Thato Seboko on Tuesday 12 April ahead of his solo exhibition opening at the Mellow House Factory in Tshwane, Hatfield. The artist was excited about his upcoming exhibition which will feature a new body of work comprising of 16 artworks. Presently he is working with a new media – hair dye, which is a non traditional art making material and can be looked upon as a new vehicle for artistic expression and thematic enunciation as far as new media is concerned. Since the artist retains a figurative approach in dealing with his subject matter something of fine art tradition is retained with regard to form but the accepted media of delivery is challenged and thus the boundary of art production process pushed further.
I had the opportunity to work with the artist during his time at the Pretoria Art Museum between 2012 – 2014. Back then In terms of scale, his work was very intimate during his subsequent participation in the For Sale Project Exhibition series. The handling of both pencil and ink gave the impression and effect of printmaking and acknowledged his draughtmanship skills while his paintings were treated with an economy that bellied modesty as far as application is concerned. From what the artist told me during our conversation on 12 April he is still inspired by family, friends and the people who have tagged along in his life’s journey both for a long haul or for a shorter period. During our conversation I got the impression that the artist has retained that aspect of art making preoccupation but he is advancing a new vehicle in the light of new media to deliver what is synonymous with his oeuvre.
Thato Seboko grew up in Itsoseng, North West. Initially he used to prowl through his brother’s drawings and was fascinated by art from that onset. He recalled a an event at the time that he use to thumb through his brothers drawings whereby he told him he needed to stay away from his work. This reinforced the value that he came to attach to works of art that he himself produced later on. Influenced by cartoons, his cousin and himself used to draw cartoons directly from the television. They’d wait for their favorite shows to start and then imitated them with pencil and paper. In a way this earlier foray into drawing at a time wherein PVR’s were nonexistent shaped the artist’s retentive memory and a quest for precision.
Dye My Memories, the first solo exhibition of work by Thato Seboko, promises to be one of the career milestones of the artist this year. The artist hopes that it will open doors for more exhibitions. Considering the bravery of the use of a new vehicle – hair dye Seboko might just claim a stake in an environment that has become severely competitive over the years. It is a bolt move for the artist to experiment with new media on a two dimensional surface, a surface which has seen so much experimentation. One always thinks there is nothing to surprise. In this light Seboko has de-contextualized hair dye from within the grooming industry and re-contextualization it within fine art.
Dye My Memory opens tomorrow on Saturday 16 April at 16:00 at the Mellow House Factory in Hatfield at corner Arcadia & Festival Street and it will run until 15 May 2016. for inquiries you can make contact @ 082 217 5404 or via email at email@example.com
© mmutle arthur kgokong 2016