2017 Sasol New Signatures Art Competition winner Lebohang Kganye's first solo exhibition Mohlokomedi wa Tora (Lighthouse Keeper) will be on at the Pretoria Art Museum from 30 August to 7 October 2018. The exhibition is running in conjunction with the 2018 Sasol New Signatures exhibition, which also features the 2018 winner, runner-up, five merit award winners, as well as the 87 finalists.
Kganye acknowledges that the R100,000 prize money gave her the financial means and technical support to work with an exhibition designer to resolve challenges presented by her vision for a large-scale installation. The opportunity to collaborate with experts means her work has been able to move in a new direction resulting in a work featuring a combination of mediums and disciplines.
Family and dynastic mythologies
In this work, she expands her complex visual vocabulary, rooted in traditional photography, to include sculptural elements and a spinning light for the life-size installation. Mohlokomedi wa Tora draws attention to the notion of family and how the influence of personal and political bias results in dynastic mythologies.
The installation constantly moves to create uninterrupted images and has four points of entry representing the four branches of the artist’s family, whilst the spinning light feature on top of a table mimics a traditional photocopier light that ‘scans’ the surroundings and immerses the audience in light. This table symbolises years of shared familial experiences and echoes the scene in Vincent van Gogh’s Potato Eaters (1885), which suggests shared disadvantages are separated by time and geography.
The narrow physical passages of this work allude to crowded living conditions experienced by township dwellers and the resulting forced intimacies. The constant motion of the installation and the audience talks to migration, the creation and destruction of family, desire to escape the shadows of poverty and, ironically, becoming another shadow.
“Winning Sasol New Signatures has been an encouraging journey that forced me to further challenge myself. It presented many opportunities by allowing me to expand my horizon, by compelling me to take a risk. The process of creating new work is uncomfortable; it's actually scary. This entire process took something from me. I can only hope that those that receive the work nurture it by fully immersing themselves in the experience,” says Kganye.
The winners of the 2018 Sasol New Signatures Art Competition will be announced on 29 August 2018. The annual art competition is presented in collaboration with the Association of Arts Pretoria.
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