TAF Emerging Artists Award

This residency programme is a collaboration with the Turbine Hall Art Fair in Johannesburg (TAF).

Setlamorago Mashilo and his sculpture Mabu a u tswitswe
©  Ivan Muller

26 year old Installation artist Setlamorago Mashilo is a trained visual artist who lives and works in Pretoria. He graduated High School in 2005 and his development as an artist was profoundly influenced by his introduction to postmodern theory and his Sepedi upbringing. Mashilo works in various media including drawing, sculpture and printmaking.

Artist Statement

I employ the use of 'dika le diema' (Sepedi Proverbs and Idioms) which incorporate objects, images, stories and songs inherited from my collective Sepedi upbringing. As a result, I unpack my own spiritual and psychological connections with these established systems of thought or ideologies and how they still condition our contemporary lives – the very same systems created by previous generations to secure our being and give them what we/they seek from life.
What takes place in my work is a strange monologue – recited, sung – scenes and acts that are eerily fateful and transcendent, stories that resonate individually and collectively about our sense of loss, nostalgia and inherited memories and the future. My work becomes one form of me talking about how the values of our societies are deeply encoded in these stories and how that extrapolates into the communities we grow up in.

The series Mabu a u tswitswe

The thorny issue come discourse concerning land in South Africa has always been a contentious dialogue to engage with. There are seemingly new complexities that emerge with the interrogation of this subject as there is a collective understanding that the land was stolen from the indigenous people(s) who occupied it. This view still persists in South Africa’s contemporary society to the extent where it expands to politics and economics. The year 2013 marked the 100th year anniversary of the Native land act. Thus beckons the questions, what permutations exist due to this happening? What types of connection[s] are there between the land and it’s "'custodians'"?

The series titled Mabu a u tswitswe, is engrossed in exploring these potent questions and analysing the multi-faceted narratives that inform our historical and contemporary lives. The title is in fact a Sepedi idiom which literally means ‘the land has been stolen’. I critique various narratives that resonate collectively with the greater public such as issues of migration, labour, dispossession, alienation, angst etc. Inversely, I also interrogate my own spiritual/ psychological alienation and angst towards the lands which I occupy.

Sylt Foundation and Setlamorago Mashilo at Turbine Art Fair 2014
© Ivan Muller

TASA Jury 2014: Glynis Hyslop (director and initiator of TAF / South Africa), Usha Seejarim (artist / South Africa), Warren Siebrits (art collector, owner of a gallery / South Africa), Indra Wussow (Sylt Foundation, curator, art expert / South Africa, Germany).