Filmmaker, Temitope Ajileye aka DirXTope on his craft and maintaining authenticity in storytelling.

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Popularly known by his signature ‘DirxTope’, Temitope Ajileye is a Pretoria based filmmaker who honors his West African roots in his craft. He shares the journey behind his mundane yet captivating storytelling with us.

How do you define yourself as a visual artist and what inspired you to become one?

Film for me is being a custodian of time and I am still in the process of defining my artform because each project comes with different expectation and challenges. If there is anything constant that I always want my work to embody is truth in the sense that I always try to tell stories in a very honest manner. Which means adding very little to a scene, a turning of light rather than turning on light. I simply just want my work to be mundane and hold an authentic feeling.

What makes your art unique?

Whether its perspective or style I always look for something that would stand out and appeal to anyone on a worldwide level spear heading my projects with an identity of cultures, borrowing from the Western Africa and South African elements to create
visuals makes my work unique because this are two parts of the continent that has formed my experience of art and humanity.

What creative projects are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on several projects under my own production company that is self-funded varying from Documentary, Experimental films and Music videos which I share across my social media platforms and website.

What do you feel the next step should be for the art and entertainment industry in South Africa?

Many people in South Africa are still marginalised to the extent that they feel that their stories and art do not matter, I look at how storytelling in a structured environment can help these stories to emerge. By telling their stories, marginalised South Africans can become part of the grand narrative of post-apartheid South Africa and filmmakers can tap into this rich vein of previously-unheard narratives. In encouraging storytelling, art and filmmaking in grassroots communities, we can also build a film culture and the kind of community filmmaking that I mentioned before, not to mention building audiences for South African stories. So it’s a win-win.

The biggest challenge we still yet to overcome is that filmmakers in South Africa chase

the ‘great South African film’ and international recognition, instead of concentrating on telling our own stories in our own unique way, and developing a South African aesthetic.

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

Don’t over think your ideas just do it, when you have something to show people you shorten the conversation and you increase your chances of being trusted as a creative so I simply say
“BE A DOER”

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Follow DirXTope on:

Instagram: dirxtope
Twitter: @dirxtope
Website: http://www.aserstudio.co.za/

Fumani Khumalo speaks on his journey and new series ‘Our Culture is Contagious’.

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Fumani Khumalo, is a Pretoria-born, Joburg-based artist. He predominately make use of charcoal and pastels as a medium to draw portraits of subjects and their daily conversations. We had the opportunity to get more insight into his work and creative journey. 

How do you define yourself as a visual artist and what inspired you to become one?

I’m a visual artist that seeks to represent different people that I encounter in my frequent travels. I seek to tell their stories and experiences in a way most people wouldn’t see. A way that they themselves might not also see.
From an early age I’ve always been intrigued by politics and social issues. I would often read books, watch documentaries and news as medium of information. It only made sense for me to use my talent to express and contribute my view about these relevant social issues.

What makes your art unique?

My art is informed by language. Which is interesting because I take a verbal dialogue and interpret it into a static visual format. It is said to acquire or know a second language is to have a second soul. It is actually quite interesting how language shapes our perception and experiences of the world. When we speak our vocal cords create vibrations which we send flying through the air as pressure waves. Over time we learned to use these vibrations to express and share our thoughts, feelings and ideas with others. In my art, I unravel the language and dialogue that people use as a means of communication and how that language creates an individual’s experience of the world that they live in. We invent our worlds using language and our exposure to language; whether limited or expanded, helps shape our perception and experience of the world.
My portraits are informed by the everyday interactions, travels and languages between ordinary subjects encountered in my frequent travels. Their eyes are often scratched out to show how their interpretation and experience of the world is not through what we see but our own understanding and knowledge of the world formed through our daily dialogues.

What creative projects are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on a new body of work titled Our Culture is Contagious. This body illustrates relatable instances where you find language and dialogue in creation. I want to show how ones perception of the world can be easily spread and influenced by the space they occupy, the people they occupy it with and the conversations shared that shape this perception.

What do you feel the next step should be for the contemporary art industry in South Africa?

The next step for the contemporary art industry I feel should be to open the art industry to those who are represented in the art itself. For a long time, art has been a medium that has been closed off from the public, the people represented in the art are not the same people viewing the art.

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

Keep drawing.

Follow Fumani on:

Instgram: fumani_khumalo

Twitter: fumani_khumalo

Facebook: Fumani

Website: http://www.fumanikhumalo.com