Dye My Memories

Say ''Peace''. Hair dye on canvas.2016
Seboko, Thato. Say Peace, 2016. Hair Dye on canvas. Dimensions not available

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.

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Interview with Mxolisi Vusimuzi Beauchamp (Part III)

Interview with Mxolisi Vusimuzi Beauchamp (Part III)

Location: Pretoria Art Museum, Tshwane, South Africa

Date: Tuesday 17 February 2015 at 09:00

Part Three:

Identity /Ideology Bamboozled

 

Mmutle. So would you say the idea of identity in terms of the content of the work started to take shape somewhere during this period, as you were exposed to the work of Spike Lee in comparison to the work of John Singleton?

Vusi. There was another artist, an English-Nigerian who used Elephant dung in his artworks. I forget his name. But like in identity, interrogating the idea of identity you know in the arts Spike Lee’s ‘Bamboozled’ sort of put at rest my anger towards the way blacks were excluded. You know that movie it made sense in a way that entertainment and such things were not something that was reserved for black people in a way. Entertainment wise it was mocking them. That was the entertainment industry and I just wanted to find a way for escaping or teaching [myself] or finding a way to express my anger through specifying that there is a difference between an artist and a black artist. They are two different things.

Mmutle. You mean the difference between a white artist…?

Vusi. No-no, the difference between an artist and a black artist. You know if you are black you are not an artist you are a ‘black artist’. So there is that thing…

[Mmutle. So you are not an artist pure – you are a black artist.]

Vusi. That’s what helped me to interrogate this thing. I have always saw myself as an artist…

Mmutle. And now this dichotomy of

Beauchamp, Mxolisi Vusimuzi. New Industry, 2015. Mixed Media.
Beauchamp, Mxolisi Vusimuzi. New Industry, 2015. Mixed Media.

Continue reading “Interview with Mxolisi Vusimuzi Beauchamp (Part III)”

Interview with Mxolisi Vusimuzi Beauchamp (Part II)

Interview with Mxolisi Vusimuzi Beauchamp (Part II)

Location: Pretoria Art Museum, Tshwane, South Africa

Date: Tuesday 17 February 2015 at 09:00

 Part Two:

Intellectual Rebellion/No holes on the Walls

Mmutle. You’ve now moved into an interesting period where you are now studying at University level, at Tshwane University of Technology. If you were to compare your training at Tshwane University of Technology and your exposure to fine arts at high school. What were the differences in these two institutionS?

Vusi. There is a difference, the difference was that in high school I was left to my own devices to achieve freedom that I had and I was passing, I was marked for doing what I was doing naturally. With TUT they were teaching me techniques now, that’s the first time I explored oils, you know, and I was taught how to mix, using oils and the techniques, and applying oil and all those sorts of things and exploring different dimensions that I’ve never experimented with as in using acrylic paints to oil, actually layering the artwork – scumbling and [the] glazing of the artwork. I really enjoyed the paintings of Rembrandts, the van Gogh style, the Vermeer, Dutch painters and stuff. Well, like I said we were exposed mostly to the Europeans [artists]

Mmutle. Of course

Vusi. Style of painting a subject in a way a still life and figurative type of thing…

Mmutle. Did it bode well to you that your training at Tshwane University of Technology tended to focus more on Western Art than it exposed you to African Art or South African Art?

Beuchamp, Mxolisi Vusimuzi. The Future, 2015. Mixed Media.
Beuchamp, Mxolisi Vusimuzi. The Future, 2015. Mixed Media.

Continue reading “Interview with Mxolisi Vusimuzi Beauchamp (Part II)”

Interview with Mxolisi Vusimuzi Beauchamp (Part I)

Interview with Mxolisi Vusimuzi Beauchamp (Part I)

Location: Pretoria Art Museum, Tshwane, South Africa

Date: Tuesday 17 February 2015 at 09:00

 Part One:

Childhood and Exposure to Arts Education

 

Mmutle Arthur Kgokong: Good morning Vusi Beauchamp, thanks for giving me the opportunity to interview you.

Mxolisi Vusimuzi Beauchamp: Thanks Mr. Mmutle

Mmutle AK: I just want us to start a little bit at the beginning of your life, when were you born?

Mxolisi VB: 1979 the third of May

MAK: and where did you grow up?

MVB: I grew up in Mamelodi Pretoria and I spent most of life there.

Mmutle: So you are a Pretorian

Vusi. Yes, I was made in Pretoria (Jokes)

Mmutle. (Laughs), if you can just tell me about your early childhood experiences. What was it like growing up in Mamelodi?

Mxolisi Vusimuzi Beauchamp at work. Image source, the artist facebook profile.
Beauchamp at work on The Great Maestro. Image source, the artist facebook profile.

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Interview with Senzo Njabulo Shabangu (Part Two): Towards a Concrete Concept

Senzo. I met good artists at the classes offered by the Johannesburg Art Gallery, one guy Blessing Ngubeni I also met him there. He works here now. So we were kept busy drawing each other, doing portraits. I enjoyed it very much…

Mmutle. This is in 2006

Senzo. Yes, it was nice because I did not know… I never went to a place where they could offer a free art lesson, also free art material. I mean I just went there without anything so they gave us pencils and whatnot, we were seating and just drawing. Hanging around a group of artists it was also …blood to me, I felt like, very very good. For the first time in Jo’burg I was making friends and I was around people I could relate to. Sometimes we would seat and do portraits. I don’t know if I can jump to that place but what happened I found out now about those art classes they used to call them Taxi Art Classes. But back then I did not know that those art classes were funded by David Krut.

Mmutle. So you only learnt about this later…?

Senzo. I found out maybe two years ago or so. I was just chatting to David about that period of my life and he said ‘I was actually the one who funded the materials’

Location: LL Editions Fine Art Printing, The Bag Factory, Johannesburg, South Africa

Date: Friday 28 November 2014 at 09:00

 

 

Senzo Njabulo Shabangu I came to Johannesburg with a dream to become a pilot. I spent close to six months looking for academies. Ai I think it was really tough because I applied for bursaries as my father couldn’t afford to pay for the course  because it’s very very expensive. So I was in Johannesburg for six months up until my older brother and Robben Smith, the owner of the house in Kensington, one day asked me why I don’t look for an art school since I drew every day instead of wasting my time to become a pilot.

Mmutle AK. So now, here we are moving into a situation whereby you are actually coming into contact with art formally.

Senzo NS. so they just ask me that question ‘why don’t you

Mmutle. pursue art?

Senzo. …pursue art, Yes, it was like they just opened up something for me. The following day they advise me to walk around Newtown and check Art Schools en go to UJ (University of Johannesburg) to check if I can apply for a fine art qualification. I woke up, came to town, went to Newtown. But before I found my way to Newtown I had to start at Carlton Center. At Carlton I met a group of artists by chance drawing in the open space. They also had an exhibition as well. I spoke to them about my interest in an art career and they told me that there were some art classes offered by the Johannesburg Art Gallery on Fridays and Thursdays. I went there to enquire, but it was easy, the moment you arrive there they just said ‘sit down’ and gave you paper to start drawing….

Continue reading “Interview with Senzo Njabulo Shabangu (Part Two): Towards a Concrete Concept”

Interview with Senzo Njabulo Shabangu (Part One): Today, Tomorrow, Everyday

Mmutle. What was your experience of the, of the first solo exhibition that you had …and when was it?

Senzo. My first solo exhibition I called it I ‘Naked Pressure’ it was in 2010 if I am not mistaken, because I met David Krut, no 2011, I met David Krut uhm, uhm after I won the David Koloane Award in 2010. Trhough the award I acquired a working space here at the Bag Factory for three months. I was working with three international artists, one from Holland and one from Germany. For the first time uBaba koloane, I call him Doctor Koloane, Pat Mautloa, these people were here, they were around me and they were mentoring me, being there molding me. In the morning before we worked they will have coffee with me and they will talk to me. They gave me the opportunity to explore what I wanted to explore.

Location: LL Editions Fine Art Printing, The Bag Factory, Johannesburg, South Africa

Date: Friday 28 November 2014 at 09:00

Mmutle Arthur Kgokong: Well I just want to thank you Senzo for giving me the time to talk to you especially here in the studio, not at your home where you will be bombarded with house chores (jokingly).

Senzo Njabulo Shabangu: (laughs) true

Mmutle AK: Yah, here it’s much better because it is your work space.

Senzo NS: Yes we can, …I understand, we can…

Mmutle: At the moment you are here at The Bag Factory neh?

Senzo: Yes

MAK: You are working on a new body of work? Tell me what is the work about actually in terms of the content of what you are dealing with for this new body of work?

Senzo. It’s like, I have been dealing a lot with issues of Joburg pressure because to me it is easy to realize that pressure the city has. So since I came here (in) 2006 I have been feeling that pressure like …at home when you are in the city they have their own expectations and as an artist it is also difficult. It is difficult for everyone the way a city designed because it’s got that pressure and for me as someone who comes outside of the city it’s easy for me to feel that pressure.

Continue reading “Interview with Senzo Njabulo Shabangu (Part One): Today, Tomorrow, Everyday”

Andrew Tshidiso Motjuoadi (Ico-Graph)

AMotjouadi Photo1935, May 13: Andrew 1Tshidiso Motjuoadi is Born in Limpopo (formerly Known as Northern Transvaal)

1935 – 1960: 2there is a scarcity of documentation around the artist life during this period.

1961 – 1962: Studies in Durban and University of the North

1963: First one man show in Johannesburg

1964: Motjuoadi is commissioned to paint backgrounds for Cornel Wilde’s film The Naked Prey

1965: Participates in several group exhibitions; (The Penny Whistlers)

1966: Awarded a prize in the Artists of Fame and Promise Exhibition, Johannesburg; (Kwela Boys)

1967: Andrew Motjuoadi Suffers a Stroke

1968: Motjuoadi passes away after being paralyzed for nearly a year. The artists surviving body of work is handed over to Esmé Berman for safe keeping.

1971: A memorial – Retrospective Exhibition of his work is held, Johannesburg, South African Association of Arts Gallery, Herbert Evans, Johannesburg.

1988: He is included in the The Neglected Tradition Exhibition¸Johannesburg Art Gallery

1990: He is included in the exhibition Looking at Our Own: Africa, Pretoria Art Museum

Andrew Motjouadi, Study for Township Life 2
Andrew Motjuoadi, Study for Township Life 2

 

Notes:

  1. Esmé Berman acknowledges the artist name in full name (see Berman, E 1983, page 200). Art and Artists of South Africa: An Illustrated Biographical Dictionary and Historical survey of Painters, Sculptors and Graphic Artists Since 1875. A. Balkema, South Africa, Johannesburg.

 

  1. Motjuoadi is considered to be a self taught artist, the period from 1935 to 1960 wherein the artists could have been brought up in a particular community in Northern Transvaal/Limpopo has not been documented in the sources that were available during my research. This represents a great puzzle in the life of this artist. This period could prove valuable in ascertaining where he attained his primary education, high school education as well as a form of arts education or contact with art or western traditional art making materials such as pencil and paper which he was conversant with. More research is needed in this period of the artist’s life, such research could shed light into the gap that exists in Motjuoadi’s life. Armed with this missing data we might perhaps also be afforded the opportunity to delve into the choice of style of the artist in the light of contact with visual art stimulus that the artist might have come into contact with during the initial year of his art practice.

 

© Mmutle Arthur Kgokong 2015

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