My Art Radar is a new project by Creative Feel aimed at sharing a more diverse view of the South African arts by a host of emerging and first-time writers, filmmakers, and designers from across the country. Following the widespread loss of jobs and available platforms in the arts, Creative Feel put out a call for applications, urging lovers of the arts to share their thoughts, opinions, and reflections on an exhibition, artist, theatre production, arts festival, or virtual performance that was on their creative radar. The result is a collection of in-depth and insightful reflections on the arts, from video diaries and written reviews to narrative essays and short-form documentaries. Browse through the works by clicking on the profile of each contributor below.
“My Art Radar”
“My Art Radar”
NAME: Boitumelo Mmaditshaba Makousu
Boitumelo Maditshaba Makousu is a Potchefstroom-based creative, cultural and heritage practitioner/archivist, museum tour guide, writer, researcher, arts & culture enthusiast/appreciator, administrator, and BA Hons Tourism scholar.
REVIEW: Reshaping women’s work through clay
The exhibition strongly highlights notions of eco-feminism through the arts, using clay as a medium of expression. Clay is a natural material which contains nutrients that are essential to plant growth. Eco-feminism asserts the special strength and integrity of every living thing and sees ‘parallels between the exploitation of nature and the exploitation of women, parallels that are understood in the context of patriarchy.’
NAME: Bowen Le Roux
Bowen Le Roux is an artist and writer currently completing an Honours in Drama at Wits University. He is interested in new ways of engaging with the arts that allow for a more widely accessible experience for audiences.
REVIEW: My Body My Space: Taking the arts to where you are
One of the first things that caught my interest was that the festival did not allow the Covid-19 restrictions to affect it negatively. Works were kept brief and were able to be viewed by audiences across the country from the comfort of their phones. One example of such a work is GLARE, a remarkable screendance work created and directed by Smangaliso Ngwenya. In addition to being a solo performance, the work was filmed and edited by Ngwenya.
NAME: Obett Motaung
Obett Motaung holds a Master of Arts in Film & Television from the University of the Witwatersrand. He also served as WITS SRC Academic & Policy officer. Motaung is the recipient of numerous awards for his filmmaking and his work has been recognised by the South Africa Music Awards 2019 where he served as adjudicator in the music video category. He was also recognised as one of the ‘100 shining young South Africansʼ by Inside Education and NYDA for his work in the Arts and Culture sector. He also serves as Naledi Theatre Award Judge.
REVIEW: Memoirs of a ‘Rose’
This year marks the 150th anniversary of feminist icon and human rights activist Charlotte Maxeke, and it is fitting that Rose, a hard-hitting feminist drama, found its way to the Market Theatre earlier this year. Actress Camilla Waldman’s portrayal of a feisty Jewish woman is a moving reminder of some of the horrific events that shaped twentieth century thinking and reality. The play resonates strongly with our current context as it echoes our own stories of continuing racial tensions and notions of displacement that exist in contemporary SA.
NAME: Tsholofelo Seleke
Tsholofelo Seleke’s bubbly personality reflects the kind of colourful creative she is – one who does not shy away from anything imaginatively stimulating. Her work is centred around issues of language, access, collectivity and the black identity. She is a part of the artistic collective anticlockwise, which is centred about re-thinking and re-imagining certain narratives and experiences. She is currently completing a Masters in Fine Arts.
REVIEW: Relevance in retrospect through Levy Pooe’s ‘Mphe Mphe ya Lapisa’
What is enjoyable about Pooe’s work is that it carries a lot of relevance for the black individual. The title itself is in seTswana, forming part of the seTswana idiom: ‘Mphe Mphe ya lapisa, Motho o kgonwa ke saga gwe’, which loosely translates to ‘the act of asking is tiring, it is better to have your own’. Even the titles of some of the artworks are a form of informal street language, which opens up access and engagement for a wider public. The activities that the work references speak to leisure activities as well as the act of trying to earn an income.
NAME: Jeremeo Le Cordeur
Jeremeo Le Cordeur, born and bred in Wellington, Western Cape, is a creative soul. Since graduating from City Varsity’s School of Media and Creative Arts, Le Cordeur has been working as an art photographer and has also taken on various roles in theatre-making. Le Cordeur is the entrepreneur behind Vulture Productions, a production and design platform for creative and original South African theatre pieces. As producer and director, Le Cordeur has been at the helm of many successful theatre productions.
REVIEW: ‘Kokon’ opens up dialogues about sexual identity, mental health, and abuse
I attended their final dress and technical rehearsal, saw the performance twice, and interacted with the cast and crew. It wasn’t long before the work sparked conversations about our own lived experiences. Much like Daniels, I understand the importance of shedding light on our human rights and marginalised states of being. Moments in the performance took me back to when I was a boy, unsure of my own identity, ridiculed by an ignorant society unaware of the impact of toxic interactions and encounters. Learning about the assault and murder of Lonwabo Jack, Kirvan Fortuin, Adnan Adams, and countless other queer bodies makes one wish that living as a marginalised queer person of colour was easier.
NAME: Lebogang Chauke
Lebogang Tswelapele Chauke is a 23-year-old aspiring actress, scriptwriter, singer, and director from Mmakau in Brits, the North-West Province. She is currently doing her second year in Dramatic Arts (Bachelor of Arts in Dramatic Arts) at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. Chauke volunteers for numerous community organisations such as the Happy Feet organisation and Hands of Hope. She believes that art is therapeutic and brings inner healing unintentionally, as for one to produce art, they must consult their traumas and experiences for inspiration.
REVIEW: Blackness and beauty through Muholi’s lens
Black bodies have been oppressed through colonialism and apartheid and placed in a position where their skin colour was permission enough to enslave and exploit them. In a country where all this injustice has happened, we are met with people still struggling to come to terms with who they are and how to be proud of themselves. How does one even begin to erase the negative connotations affiliated with identifying as black? How does one develop an identity when it has already been laid out for you by colonial and apartheid histories? Well, the answer may lie in Zanele Muholi’s photography.
NAME: Kofi Maqhawe Dotsey
Kofi Maqhawe Dotsey is a Ghanaian-South African performance artist who creates provocative artwork that challenges the status quo, with perspectives drawn from unimagined views of reality. Pyramidkofi is an artistic platform they founded for multidisciplinary collaboration and creative exchanges in Africa. Miza has trained both in South Africa and the United States of America, namely theatre, design and visual art. Their artistic persona is focused equally on creative and performance research, some of which includes a contribution as co-author of a chapter in a book by the Institute of Creative Arts: Restless Infections.
REVIEW: Praise be to ‘Desire Marea Nezimakade’
We often marvel at the spectacle of an artwork, picking up key elements that relate to the experience of being swooned by art. We go in expecting more and we miss the vitality of the spiritual components. The national Covid-19 lockdown demanded a kind of stillness that was unheard of and in that stillness, intimacy was present to open ourselves up to a different experience. It could be argued that Desire Marea Nezimakade, a virtual concert of Desire Marea’s album, had arrived at a very important time. As we experienced isolation, we experienced stillness and within this stillness our senses would be amplified. Desire is a story that enlivens our senses to experience a queer spiritual awakening.
NAME: Zenhlanhla Myeni
Zenhlanhla ‘Zen’ Myeni is a goal-focused and driven creative. He is a multifaceted artist that has an astute eye for design, style, and concept – an eye that sets him apart from most of his creative peers. Myeni has always found ways to transform the mundane into magic and loves controversial art pieces that create a constructive conversation. He believes art is the perfect ice breaker to all the difficult conversations the world needs to have.
REVIEW: The future of Africa is bright if it is styled by Thebe Magugu
Yoh, Thebe Magugu where do we even start? In my opinion he is just the best example I can think of when discussing young Africans putting in the work and winning. He is only 26 years old but is already making moves that are being recognised by the likes of Vogue magazine.
NAME: Ncumisa Mcitwa
Ncumisa Mcitwa was born in Butterworth (Eastern Cape), South Africa and is an artist currently based in Durban KwaZulu-Natal. Mcitwa is a full time contemporary practicing artist who has an interest in art as a tool to educate, research, entertain, and be a source of therapy to society especially in impoverished black communities. Recently, Mcitwa took part in Ikhono Lase-Natal commissioned by international photographer Zanele Muholi.
REVIEW: ‘Double Up!’ demonstrates the power of a duo
The exhibition explores the concept of a ‘support bubble’ that emerged during the nationwide lockdown, and is a response to local artists who were greatly affected by the lockdown, and closely looks at how artistic community and practice can be re-imagined during the pandemic. This exhibition echoes the need for support in art communities and broader society for issues like stress, economic struggles, depression, and unemployment which affected many creatives during South Africa’s lockdown.
NAME: Tshepiso Modupe
Tshepiso Modupe is a writer, photographer, and painter currently studying at NWU in Potchefstroom. With a background in activism, Modupe’s most prominent work in writing was co-authoring and being the cover person of We Are No Longer At Ease: The Struggle for Fees Must Fall, a book that explores the #FeesMustFall movement, it’s complexities and impact on South African youth.
REVIEW: Moments of divinity in Lerato Lodi’s ‘Morapedi: One Who Prays’
The time is 11am and I make my way to another exhibition at the North West University (NWU) gallery. This time around, the showcase is for an artist named Lerato Lodi, a Fine Art student at the Tshwane University of Technology. Like those before it, this exhibition is not buzzing with dialogue and the fresh circulations of inspiration often enjoyed by those attending an exhibition opening. Since the beginning of the year, most exhibitions are only attended by a few. Only student assistants to the gallery and media house representatives ready to report on upcoming talents are present. This scant attendance has become the new norm during exhibitions, and while there are many disadvantages to an exhibition opening during a global pandemic, the message of Morapedi: One Who Prays is somewhat heightened by the absence of bodies.
NAME: Kgalalelo Gaitate
Kgalalelo Gaitate is a full-time visual arts practitioner who has taken part in various group exhibitions. Her art is an exploration and celebration of South Africa’s various sub-cultures. Gaitate has illustrated children’s books and calendar cover art, as well as created art for marketing campaigns for Genesis Analytics and vector art for Royal Haskoning DHV.
REVIEW: Inside Norman O’Flynn’s ‘Interior of Perfection’
To respond to this artwork, I’ve created a video of the artwork with a voice recording laid over it. The recording is spoken word. The background music gathers momentum as feelings of dismay heighten. I’ve chosen to respond this way because hearing pictures, and seeing sounds is an exciting sensory journey and these are the feelings this painting invokes in me.
NAME: Ntshadi Mofokeng
Ntshadi Mofokeng is a cultural worker inspired by dance. She is active as a project manager and writer. She is also working on researching and documenting stories of/about dance(makers) in Africa. She started her career in education advocacy after attaining a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science.
REVIEW: Virtual concerts, a lifeline in the dark days of hard lockdown
I sat down with my mother, Boitumelo Mofokeng, to hear her thoughts on discovering a new generation of artists through virtual concerts hosted in 2020. Just as we were home-bound and sharing moments we otherwise wouldn’t in our busy lives, our family was also just getting used to wearing the new look of mourning. In this conversation I learnt just how special one concert in particular was for my mother. Nakhane’s performance in the Sounds From Africa concert series was a salve for her grieving heart.
NAME: Caswell Lengoabala
Caswell Lengoabala is a multi-faceted creative with experience in cinematography, post-production, and photography. Lengoabala has collaborated with Nottingham Trent University of Scotland as an international artistic researcher, and has studied multimedia and advertising at Umuzi academy. This resulted in the production of projects such as The Lapsarian Question, and Barudian’s Ass that dealt with questions of the psyche, religion and philosophy respectively. His film FOUR EYE REFLECT was placed fourth internationally in a short-film competition during the 2020 Covid-19 lockdown.
REVIEW: South African short film on the rise
Caswell Lengoabala sits down with Durban filmmaker Mel Mthembu to speak about his new film Ukube Ngabe, the untapped potential of filmmaking in South Africa, and how Covid-19 has affected his process.
NAME: Siphumelele Gumede
Siphumelele Gumede is an honours graduate in Fine Arts, English Literature, and Visual Culture Studies from the University of Pretoria. Simply put, she loves art and writing, and the conflation of the two is her absolute passion. She enjoys everything that is art; from the visual arts, to film, music, theatre, as well as fashion. She loves reading art and discussing its multifaceted meanings, and truly believes that life and art are inseparable: art is made from life and art informs all life. Gumede is currently working as an Intern at David Krut Projects situated in Arts on Main in Johannesburg.
REVIEW: ‘Against the Grain’ re-thinks identity through migrant work, land, and home
Setlamorago Mashilo’s research into his family and their history with land ownership deeply informs the works on display in Against the Grain. At the same time, it also draws on the larger socio-political implications that access to land, or the lack thereof, have on identity and belonging. While Mashilo grapples with his own spiritual ties to the Limpopo homelands he grew up in, he prompts viewers to think about the dynamics of space and its ownership in South Africa.
NAME: Nkululeko Mgenge
Nkululeko Mgenge is a creative artist and actor, children’s theatre practitioner, facilitator, storyteller and entrepreneur. He holds a Btech in drama from Tshwane University of Technology and is currently doing his Advanced Diploma in Project Management. He is based in Pretoria, originally from KwaZulu-Natal, Mtubatuba.
REVIEW: ‘Iyeza’ dispels Covid-19 myths
Iyeza which translates to ‘it is coming’, showcases how Covid-19 education can be fun and engaging to all audiences. The performance, hosted by StageFright Edutainment is a Covid-19 Industrial Theatre Awareness Roadshow which has toured across the country and has been performed in local languages. Iyeza provides factual information about vaccination registration and staying protected from Covid-19. The roadshow encourages safety through talking about mask protocol, hand sanitising, social distancing, self-quarantining, and vaccination. The message is communicated through a live theatre piece which includes music and dance. The target audiences are special-needs schools, old age homes, homes for people living with disabilities, and disadvantaged care organisations around the country.
NAME: Kaya Mazule
Kaya Mazule is a multi-talented, self-taught visual artist. Creating artwork that evokes emotion, Mazule’s use of different mediums makes him an extremely versatile creative. Working with mostly acrylic and oil on canvas, his work tries to capture frozen moments in time – portraiture that also focuses on the beauty of creation. On the digital side of art, Mazule creates comic books, illustrates, and also draws cartoons for newspapers and small publications. Finding a good balance between how much time he spends on the digital and traditional forms of art has been the key to his success.
REVIEW: Talking artistic independence with Zenande Mtati
‘As social as I was growing up, I enjoyed being in my own space and recreating images I had seen around me, in the form of sketches and rough illustrations,’ says Zenande Mtati. The artist works with pen on paper, mixed media, and is also a photographer. His digital artwork and illustrations show an extensive range of styles from which his unique style has evolved.
COMING SOON… We’re waiting as patiently as you for the exciting review! 👀