Ofentse Seshabela reflects on the complex history of South Africa in his body of work.

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Ofentse Seshabela is a Visual Artist who aims to reflect on the complex history of South Africa and the world and how it is perceived in present day. His provocative imagery and clear political commentary is captivating and sought after in the contemporary art world. This creative on the move has exhibited in prominent galleries in Johannesburg and Cape Town, including the FNB Art Fair. Here’s more on his journey through the visual arts.

How do you define yourself as a Visual Artist and what inspired you to become one? 

I define myself as a visual artist that is constantly engaged with visual creativity. Whether it be myself drawing, painting, or frequently visiting the gallery or even browsing through an art magazine. I would say art informs a big chunk of my life. The process of creativity is constantly flowing in me and I try to consistently be in that state. I believe I’ve always been an artist, from a young age. I don’t think there was a particular transition that took place where I started considering myself as an “artist”, however, when my craft started getting better and better in high school, I guess that also inspired me to do more and continue honing in on my talents.

What makes your art unique? 

For one the primary medium that I use makes my art unique. I mainly use smoke in my drawings. I also do not like beating around the bush regarding my subject matter, so I depict images how I imagine them to be in my head. Most would say it’s quite literal but I believe in being straightforward about what I want to express.

What creative projects are you currently working on? 

I’m currently drawing and gathering content and research that would contribute into a bigger body of work which will form part of my solo show sometime this year, if not early next year. I have also enrolled at University of Johannesburg to finish off my art qualification of which I had taken a break from in 2018.

What do you think the next step should be for the South African visual art industry? 

I feel like the visual arts is currently privatized in SA. I would like to see the industry more accessible to people who are not informed about the industry. I have seen so much great raw talent outside of the industry but most do not know how to go about progressing their talents to build themselves a sustainable livelihood from it. It would be really great to reach out to communities that cannot  access the art world. I would also love to see us working on the development of visual artists from foundation phase. I think it is important to inform and educate young kids of the fundamentals of visual art, and how it can really be taken as a career. In essence, I would like art to be taken seriously from a very young age. Government and corporate entities should engage and fund the industry more to see that artists grow and are able to compete on the global market.

What would you say to upcoming visual artists to inspire them? 

I would say the same thing I’ve heard from people that inspire me in my journey, believe in yourself, keep striving for more and always fight to evolve and grow yourself creatively and mentally. Failure and fear do not exist, it is just an opportunity to try again and do better.

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