Art exhibition: Lewatle: Spirit of the Ocean, solo exhibition by Theko Boshomane opens on Heritage Day, September 24, 2022 at Gallery South, Muizenberg, Cape Town
|Lewatle: Spirit of the Ocean, solo exhibition by Theko Boshomane |
When: September 24 to October 30, 2022
Where: Gallery South, 19 Atlantic Road, Muizenberg, Cape Town
Opening day – September 24- hours: 11am to 4pm
Gallery hours: By appointment – via e-mail or call 083 2733742
Gallery info: email@example.com
Gallery South Instagram: gallerysouth_za
Info from the artist- Theko Boshomane
Award winning artist Theko Boshomane’s solo exhibition, Lewatle: Spirit of the Ocean, opens on Saturday September 24, 2022– Heritage Day – at Gallery South, 19 Atlantic Road, Muizenberg. The exhibition will be on until October 30. The opening event on September 24, will run from 11am to 4pm. Saxophonist Jesse Julies, will play solo from 10.30am to 11am. That will be followed by the opening speech by Kobus Moolman; the artist talking about his work and then more music by Jesse Julies, until 1pm. There is no charge to attend. Theko Boshomane’s art work will be on sale. The exhibition is a culmination of a year-long residency of the artist, at Gallery South. Read on for more. Info as supplied:
The ocean (letwale) as inspiration
Theko Boshomane says: “I see the ocean as something you learn from and communicate with, rather than something you simply immerse yourself in physically. It’s a reference from nature that I look at and I communicate with. Some days the ocean is too loud for me, it’s angry; other days it’s calm, resonating with my internal calmness. Some days I feel like dancing in the sound of the waves. I have had to overcome my own long-term fear of the water, which tells me I have an ancestral calling.”
Lewatle: Spirit of the Ocean reflects Theko Boshomane’s exploration of an interior space in relation to his proximity to the Muizenberg coast during his year-long residency at Gallery South. He hopes Lewatle will provoke a reminder that despite our addictive reliance on technology, we still remain deeply connected to the worlds of nature and spirit.
Boshomane’s work has matured from using art to escape difficult life experiences and as a way to heal and overcome the impact of childhood trauma. “My art was personally therapeutic and kept me sane,” he says. Working predominantly if not exclusively in oils, Boshomane is a rarity among his artistic peers. His choice of oils as his primary medium is related to his understanding of the healing function of art. “I enjoy the process of working in oils. It has been an intrinsic part of the therapeutic process. I’ve always enjoyed the time it takes to dry. It allows me to work longer on a piece, to mold it as desired,” he says. “I struggle with other mediums as I don’t want instant results. I don’t get the same pleasure from video pieces, for example, as from working in oils. I enjoy looking at the final product at the end of the whole process”.
A sincere artist, Boshomane has had the courage, since being recognised in 2013 with a Sasol New Signatures merit award, to forge his own path driven more by his inner personal truth than by commercial imperatives, local market trends and peer pressure. Since childhood, he has grappled with existential questions, sensing he has been called for a purpose bigger than himself. He has long understood his personal suffering and challenges as preparation for becoming a vector carrying hope and change into the world.
As he has better understood the personal healing process in his work, he has become increasingly aware of the accompanying spiritual journey. “When I started painting I didn’t realise it was more an approach to spiritual awakening,” he says. “Now I can see I am using my work the same way one would be a traditional healer”. He has come to understand the process leading to Lewatle as a self-guided form of o thwasa, the process of learning the pathways to traditional healing and becoming a sangoma. “I am beginning of this journey. Like a person going through initiation, the process is difficult. I am figuring it out on my own. There are a lot of things happening in the background. I have dreams and receive messages. Every morning, going to the studio feels different. Producing my work is what I am chosen to do. Rather than going to initiation school and using bones, I am called to connect with and to produce the work,” he says.
In Lewatle, the oceanic imagery represents what happens in the spirit of the artist as he engages in a profound personal dialogue with the ocean itself and with the spirit it contains. Boshomane’s underworld landscape is his personal visual vocabulary conveying the journey from his own deep, childhood fear of the water to his recent harmonious immersion in the sea. The seals circling in tune around him, sometimes assuming the form of dolphins and whales, represent and translate the artist’s conversation with the sea symbolically projected onto the canvas. The dancing seaweed that starts to dominate conveys the artist in a new state of flow, increasingly comprehending his own language and free to create unconcerned about either the viewer or the message. “Now that we have the freedom and opportunity, it is the responsibility of my generation to take it further than the previous generations and to tell the spiritual stories,” says Boshomane. “I am inspired by the notion, as I heard on a Kaya FM podcast in a conversation between the hosts and musician Msaki that the elders are saying that ‘We have done all the suffering that needed to be done. You guys are here to heal. And by healing yourselves you heal us’,” says Boshomane.
Thus with Lewatle, Boshomane steps onto the cultural stage as the visual proponent of a significant and critically engaged, multi- and interdisciplinary generational movement that has consciously turned anew to indigenous African spirituality for inspiration and guidance for ways to live with the inherited personal, socio-political and economic challenges faced by all. The turn to spirituality is thus not a turn away from the world.
Boshomane’s spiritually creative journey has also enabled a mostly concealed dynamic in South African art history to rise to the surface. The generationally relevant conversations in which he engaged during his residency at Gallery South provoked a new interpretive focus on the work of Bill Ainslie whose work and teaching continues to have a formative influence three decades after his untimely death in 1989. Seen through Boshomane’s eyes, it is possible now to clearly see Ainslie’s turn to abstract expressionism not only as a reaction to Jackson Pollock on the American scene but also as an expression of an indigenous spiritual vocabulary aligned with African ancestral spirit guides.
Developing the Gallery South conversational focus marked by Dr Mongane Wally Serote’s launch of the Gallery in 2019, Lewatle: Spirit of the Ocean invites an intergenerational conversation between the contemporary Boshomane and the work of other South African masters including Walter Batiss, Lucky Sibiya, Solomon Lekgetho and Helen Sibidi.
It is no accident that Boshomane’s focus on healing evolved during a plague-ridden era endured by all of humanity. The power of his images assume additional poignance and significance in relation to the extreme personal and collective vulnerability experienced with Covid by everyone irrespective of their social location.
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