Shades of black: An exhibition in colour

By Precious Mamotingoe Lesupi

An outing to a local art event, First Thursdays, didn’t go quite as planned. It turned out even better. Precious stumbled on an exhibition at The Other Venue on 2nd Avenue in Bloemfontein. In this piece, she reports on the art that caught her eye.

The Black Season is an exhibition by Lesego Motsiri who is a student from the Department of Fine Arts at the University of the Free State. It is made up of a collection of 21 artworks inspired by dark moments in the artist’s life. Motsiri has had viewers interested since its premier at Art Fusion in 2016, the year he created his work.

“I’ve always been interested in black. It’s always been my favourite colour as a kid,” explains Motsiri regarding choice of colour.

The artworks were born from curiosity as the artist intended to question the stigma behind the colour. “I stopped wearing black because my mother told me it was evil and demonic”, he says.

For the artist The Black Season was a remembrance or tribute to his painting lecturer, Dot Vermeulen who warned them in their first year to “never use black and white when painting because they are voids”. Every artwork in the collection has a white dot, which according to the artist represents the memory of Dot Vermeulen embedded with topics such as death, friendship and the self.

“I intended for the collection to evoke curiosity,” he says.

The collection’s paintings have an optical illusion to them. One can only see a black canvas from afar, a white dot as they gradually get closer to the work and then hidden marks on the work only show at close range. “One does not see what others see when they look into the black,” Motsiri said.

Motsiri uses different shades of black and different mediums of art in the collection. He explores the colour black through different shades. As a way to understand the relationship between art and politics, science and society, Lesego uses a variety of mediums of art such as paintings, prints and drawings in his collection.

“I wish to see The Black Season exhibiting beyond South Africa”, he said.

The collection will be exhibited at Pacofs in October as a theatrical production in collaboration with choreographers, Motlatsi Khotle and Tshepiso Phetlhu.

More stories in Issue 113

Contributors

Precious Mamotingoe Lesupi

Born in the Free State, Precious Mamotingoe Lesupi is an aspiring journalist, activist and rape victim-survivor. She is a journalism student at the University of the Free State and a reporter for the campus newspaper, Irawa. She has worked with Next Chapter, The South African Federation for Mental Health and The African Umbrella for Mental […]

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