There are certain instances whereby in analysing a visual art object one can simply commit a mistake by pitting that work against other artworks which, by some law of which one need not have to adhere to, seem to belong to the same category or genre. Such a viewing or a reading is problematic in that it delimits our independent viewing from making discoveries which can only be unearthed if that work was to be looked at in its own glory isolated from the accompaniment of other works which, if we are imbibed with an open mind, might even be proved to be inferior to it.
Mmutle Arthur Kgokong: Thank you Michael for agreeing to see me for this interview with regard to your work as an artist. I hope you feel good today, that you feel alright, despite the winter, the chills, I’ve heard that you’ve been to Grahamstown recently .
Michael Selekane: Yes, in the last two weeks
MAK: How was Grahamstown’s weather?
MS: It was very cold, but the last week of the festival it was raining, it was enjoyable.
– Was it the first time you went to Grahamstown?
– No, It’s was my third time there, but first time when I went there I exhibited at a flea market, second time I exhibited at the Barat Centre and this year I exhibited at the Albany Museum. It is like Grahamstown has different steps of exhibiting. First time there you do not start at a good space or gallery, you had to start at the ‘French Exhibitions’, that’s where I exhibited last year, they call them local artists exhibitions, then when you have passed those stages you get a chance to exhibit at the Albany Museum or Monument.
This essay is a reflection of the screening of Pule Diphare’s Sister In Wonderland on the evening of 25 November 2010. It acutely tied in best with South Africa’s 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign which runs from 25 November to 10 December.
The first part of this essay introduces the film to the reader by setting the tone for the vital theme at the crux of the artwork. While the second part tries to introduce the subject matter to the reader through a subdued reportage the last section, using dialogue approach, focuses on the questions which were raised during the last part of that evening following the screening. Here the reader must be made aware that while great care has been taken to record every question through short hand a lot of editing went into the writing of this part to re-focus the questions and retain their motive. Even the sharp responses from Diphare as he deflected and dealt with questions were seethed to retain their directness. With that said the reader might find this part far more different (if not put off by it) compared to audio recorded interviews that I have hitherto conducted especially towards the end of 2010.
Pule Diphare is an interesting artist living and practicing in Tshwane/Pretoria today in that he still holds to the credo that a work of art does not need the artist to defend it in order for it to stand its ground in the echelons of creativity. It should stand by itself, for itself. Furthermore he professes individuality at an epoch where belonging is the norm.
This text represent a typed version of a recording documenting Philiswa Lila’s thoughts around the recent art making workshops presented to a group of autistic adults housed at Lethabo Le Khutso, culminating in an exhibition at the Pretoria Art Museum (02 November – 26 November). Great care has been taken to translate the recording verbatim from audio to text. Herein the reader will gather Mme Lila’s ideas around transference of skills as far as visual art is concerned as well as the impact that artists from Lethabo Le Khutso has had on her as a practicing artist. It is also hoped that the reader will come to appreciate the fact that the writing tries to center around the interviewee; so the questions were constructed with economy to provoke undiluted calculated responses. Lastly the text is inclusive of verbal interruptions to retain nuances and mood as the interaction between the interviewer and interviewee develops. Welcome to interparadox, in search of an artist.
II The interview
Mmutle Arthur Kgokong: Thank you Philiswa for agreeing to see me uhmm our interview involves umm the workshops that you have presented to Lethabo Le Khutso, but before we get there umm I will like to find out how long have you been involved with the education programme at at the Pretoria Art Museum?
Philiwa Lila: (laughs) Ok, thank you for having me for this interview ehh I started at the museum in 2007 when I sent you an email, of course, asking you if there were any space for students and things like that and so it began with the Preparatory Programme where you trained us to be guides to the museum and then I made it that year and I started doing the guides and also my first workshop was, I was a co-facilitator with Nthabiseng as the main facilitator for educators that same year and it was towards…the middle of the year in April somewhere there
Philiwa Lila: Yes. So that first experience was ehhmm, I don’t know something unexpected in a way (laughes), I don’t know what to expect from it first time doing a workshop, so ehhmm, I really enjoyed it at the same time and I wanted to continue doing that that’s why I (laughs) I stuck around, you know, doing more of the projects here at the museum and then towards 2008…2009 that’s when I really got involved, I saw the direction of where I wanted to go my self with the art and ahhh, I think here at the museum has helped me doing these projects in the way that you don’t really get tired of what you are doing in terms of the career because us a lot of times people get tired of painting all the time find that at the same time they just give in a way so ummm it has helped me to come up with my own ideas in a way, different, for different workshops programme at the same time it keeps you thinking for fresh ideas on how you can do something much simpler than what you have learnt at school so yah until know I am still around.
Tshepo Mosopa is a contemporary artist based in Tshwane-Pretoria whose work has been shown in exhibitions such as The New Signatures Art Competition 2007, The Rehearsal Exhibition 2008 and For Sale Project Exhibition 2008. He is currently part of the final selection exhibition for the ABSA L’Atelier Art Award 2009. Mosopa is a member of the Creative Industries Consortium Tshwane and at the time of writing he is attending training in printmaking at the Artists Proof Studio in Newtown Johannesburg.