There are many words to describe art – ‘diverse’ and ‘substantive’ are some of them. Therefore, one cannot dictate how each and every individual will perceive a piece of art. The same can be said of the thoughts and conversations that take place because of the said art piece.
For installation artist Thulile Gamedze’s art, it is the social discourse which her pieces can create that are most important to her.
Based in Cape Town, South Africa, Gamedze wears many hats in the creative arts industry. She is a writer, activist, curator, teacher and art practitioner. In addition to this, she is a member of the popular arts collective iQhiya.
Describing herself as a firm believer in the importance of using new and unconventional approaches to produce knowledge to the general public, Gamedze believes that her pieces are often out of the ordinary. Over the years, her work has been about quirky approaches to social South African issues, either past or present. This translated even into her academics, as she tackled a Masters in Philosophy (M.Phil) by using this approach.
She related and reflected on the current direction of student protest movements by linking and comparing it to the approaches of anti-apartheid movements. This saw her land a graduation with her masters fully in tow.
Gamedze’s art installations are often a stand out because they allow the viewer to fully immerse themselves in art she describes as ‘chaotic’. Her work is often a large mix of objects meant to collectively drive home or start a conversation.
As such, this has seen her art exhibited in places such as the Brundyn Gallery in Cape Town, Smac Gallery, and Blank Projects. She has written pieces for the Mail and Guardian and numerous other publications. She also curates exhibitions for a number of galleries across the country and teaches online courses to art students.
Her skills and achievements do not end there, as she has also featured in the prestigious Sasol New Signatures showcase. The showcase is meant to highlight and give a platform to talent in the art world. Her piece; The revolution will not be televised (white noises) was showcased. In this piece, she displayed a collection of still images seemingly derived from static televisions.
The message of this piece is: fighting for a better world through revolution requires active participation, not passive consumption through mediums such as television.
Gamdeze prides herself in always being able to create a completely different setting for all her work. This is evident in the piece ‘Ntlonti’ where she illustrated the many dynamics and relationships in the black South African community through the use of multi-coloured plastic plates marked with names of those living together in various communities. This piece was met by many with the idea that she was attempting to relate a message of social cohesion within the black community.
A relaying of messages and a formation of ideas is what Gamedze always hopes for when she creates. This is what she communicates to numerous artists she often interacts with and those who come into contact with her work.
To view her craft, visit www.thuligamedze.com and alternatively you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
~ Thabisile Ngeleka