I have had the privilege of being a part of an internship programme at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) through the National Research Foundation (NRF) since early 2016. My position required me to assist the 4th years with their work through consultation and in some cases more of a supervisor position. My role within this programme exposed me to the work of emerging visual talents of the graduate class at TUT and a completion of what they had learned over the four years they had been enrolled at the university.
This exhibition is a showing of the culmination of the experience gained and, in some cases, the experimentations had at TUT which in my opinion is an important aspect of a growing young artist. In this body of work the young artists show a keenness toward pushing the materiality in which they choose to work showing a matured sophistication in the practice of many of the students participating in this show. Material ranged from the traditional mediums such as oil paint (Alecia van Rooyen, Media Microscope), acrylic paint (Philip Coetzer, Building Blocks) and charcoal (Cynthia Mosoa, Anew) to the less conventional with materials such as rubber (Safisio Mkhabela, Hybrid Forms), sand (Zanoxolo Sylvester Mqeku, Ontogoid) and bone (Bathusi Maqina, Illusions).
With this exploration through different mediums and materials comes the confidence to delve into challenging territories conceptually and to not shy away from interdisciplinary approaches in creating the work utilizing complex forms, which is apparent in the body of work that was on show at TUT. Many of the students display a willingness to cross over within the mediums they are comfortable working and bring in elements that could seem foreign to their practice like Olwethu de Vos’ Pie which combines glass sculpture with found objects or the mixed media painting by Malwande Ngcingi titled Modika.
Overall there is a sophistication in the practicing visual arts that shows a maturity in this group of graduates from TUT. They have over time built themselves portfolios of work that are strong evidence of the work they have done over the course of the four years of being at TUT. These portfolios are important to the careers of young artists and creatives as this is the first push into the professional world and strong portfolios help with finding your footing or just stability in the daunting world after undergraduate years. But what the work on display in this show proves is that these students are now equipped with the tools to go out and either further their studies through higher education programmes towards a more academic approach or enter the creative professional worlds.
Whichever choice is made by this group of young talented individuals it is without a doubt that they have been the foundation to approach their future endeavors with confidence both in their skills and in the experience gained from TUT.
I wish them all the best and look forward to hearing of their achievements in the future.
MFA University of the Witwatersrand, BFA Rhodes University