My work is an investigation of the socio-political construction of African communities in neo colonial South Africa. It looks into the notion of industralisation and migrant labour as colonial imperatives. Consequently, thereof, my work also looks at displacement as a critical component in the constitution of contemporary spaces.
I am fascinated by the aesthetics of different working gear such as those in mining,construction,military,chemical,medical, underwater diving, etc. The design of such gear often presents images that replace the qualities of identity of human who wear it. One can, therefore, argue that the images represented by the working gear, bring about the ‘other’. I take these images and impose/juxtapose with cultural and spiritual symbols. In doing so, there is a fundamental shift in what these images signify. These cultural heritage symbols become embedded in the working gear. Thereby, reconciling the ‘other’ with humanity. I am particularly interested in examining this identity transformation and what the parallels are, if any, with traditional African masks. This is crucial because African masks are known to transform the identity of the wearer for the purpose of serving the ritual. Has safety gear replaced African masks as identity transforming agents in serving the modern day industrial rituals?
I use oil pastel to re-imagine and reconstruct these working gear. All for the purpose of bringing the gear closer to the wearer. However, it is also a metaphoric device used in restoring pride, identity and dignity to the wearer. I also use a wide variety of design patterns for different reasons. One of the reasons being the expression of identity. These patterns also celebrate virtues such as patience and craftsmanship. Last, but not least, the use of patterns aims to highlight the systematic inconsistencies. The idiosyncratic consistency of inconsistencies within the system.