The Portfolio: Mxolisi Dolla Sapeta

 

 

As a figurative artist, I use art to confront my inner conflicts as well as those of other people, randomly represented individuals in the urban context of New Brighton, where I live. I always try to speak about the human condition rather than the individual person.

My narratives are fragmented, characters and objects isolated and stripped down.

In 2016 I took a year-long sabbatical from art-making and did a creative writing Master’s course at Rhodes University — actually I’d been writing poetry since the 1990s. When I returned to my studio in 2017 I started on a creative process which I call deviation: to seek different interpretations and directions after each discovery.

This constant rearrangement is an attempt to express the profound duality in my own life. On one hand, an oppressive anonymity pervaded by bleak circumstances; on the other, a self-possession and ownership of my own plight.

I taught art at PE College between 2001 and 2007, and I continue to run art classes in the surrounding schools. If I get a suspicious reception from aloof teachers in broken schools, I resort to giving classes in my studio on weekends.

I always learn from the many smiling faces of the young people I encounter through teaching art. This feeds into everything — art, poetry, life itself. I respect these youths for making time for learning art through the complex and brutal realities of the township.

My first collection of poetry was published by Deep South in 2019, titled skeptical erections. In my paintings and poems, I like to dig beneath the surface of our social reflections and find what’s hidden behind the skirt of moral values. I continue to work every day in the middle of a vicious township. All my creative work has been developed here. There is a significant randomness here that is both violent and honest. I owe to this township every step back and forth of my creative work.

Mxolisi Dolla
Guest Author
Sapeta
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