Bogosi Sekhukhuni consolidates millennial media technology and inherited cultural practices to create complex modes of identity. Although geographically located in Johannesburg, the web of his reach extends far beyond the metropole.
“I was raised to understand myself as an African first, and secondly as a South African,” he says. “My grandmother is from Botswana and I grew up regularly visiting Gaborone. From a young age I was surrounded by my mother’s peers, a lot of whom were visitors from around the continent.”
Over the course of his career Sekhukhuni has constructed a visual language matrix. He refers to this process of historical excavation as “throwback visual culture mining”, drawing on his own subjective experience as well as a larger discourse of popular culture.
Influences are drawn from his experience of the “black aspirant middle class” and growing up with early South African social media technologies such as Mxit.
“I mainly draw influence from other artists or people through the attitude they present their ideas in more than the content itself,” he says.
As a conceptual artist, his practice orbits around notions of dismantling oppressive and outdated knowledge systems. “It’s tragic that our curricula pay homage to the ideas and histories of others more than our own. To me, this is a fundamental problem,” says Sekhukhuni.
“Our obsession with the future is based on a materialist approach to space-time. I’m interested in learning about how my ancestors understood reality, and applying that to my practice and life.”
Sekhukhuni aims to amend the pan-African agenda and shift its focus to spiritual development: “I think we need to draw more from African spirituality and realise the potential for social transformation that’s inherent in it. We need more right-brain female energy in African leadership.”
He engages with the information economy in his work. The recently launched site Open Time Coven, a visual culture bank and research space, serves as a new platform of access and intervention. The website enables him to share his ideas with a global audience and will host art products and a store.
Sekhukhuni will take part in a studio residency exhibition, Restore the Feeling, that explores the trauma culture in Johannesburg.
The exhibition opens on July 28 at the Bag Factory in Newtown, Johannesburg
This article first appeared on bubblegumclub.co.za