Johannesburg-based visual artist Levy Pooe will present a solo exhibition of new work at the Bag Factory this February. The exhibition follows Pooe’s announcement as the winner of the 2020 Cassirer Welz Award.
Titled, Mphe Mphe ya Lapisa, this body of work is, according to a press release by the Bag Factory, ‘an extension of Pooe’s ongoing themes that revolve around his relationship with the urban space, and representation of black figures engaged in contemplative activities and daily rituals.
‘Mphe Mphe ya Lapisa, motho o kgona ke sagagwe is a seTswana idiom, which can be translated to: “The constant act of asking is tiring. It is better to have your own.” Mphe Mphe Ya Lapisa emerges from the universal experience of how we see ways of asking and how we become victims to this state of being. This theme poses questions such as, but not limited to: What do we ask for? When do we ask? Who do we ask? From which spaces do we ask?’
Pooe’s practice sees him working in a range of mediums from painting and charcoal, to collage and photography. In this body of work, the artist’s acrylic paintings and charcoal drawings take a great deal of inspiration from his navigations through, and observations of the city. Labour, music, and public performance are a few of the themes being explored in Pooe’s works.
Speaking on one of the works included in the upcoming exhibition, Busking in the city, the Bag Factory explains that the painting ‘takes the viewer on a walk through the city, recognising the street musicians, the different aspects they add to the city, and how they also ask to be heard.’
Mphe Mphe ya Lapisa will run from 20 February – 12 March 2021 at the Bag Factory. Audiences will also have the opportunity to meet the artist and discuss the exhibition further at an artist-led walkabout on 6 March 2021, 11:00 at the Bag Factory.