Q&A with Merit Winner 2019: Kgodisho Moloto | Sasol New Signatures

Q&A with Merit Winner 2019: Kgodisho Moloto

Tell us about your artistic journey up until the point of entering Sasol New Signatures 2019

My journey started at a very young age.  Back then, I thought it was normal for kids of my age to be playful with their artistic creations. However, there was a point in my life where I realised that I was being creative in an extraordinary and unique way. I mean I would sit in class during all my years of primary and high school, doodling and making drawings that always impressed not only my classmates (peers) but also my elders (teachers, family). More especially my parents. Therefore, I became more and more passionate about art as I grew up.

Who or what has had the biggest influence on your career as an artist to date?

To be honest, I have been the biggest influence on my career, together with my supportive family and partner. My surroundings and personal experiences have also played a vital role in my career.

What motivated you to enter the Sasol New Signatures art competition this year?.              

Sasol New Signatures is an intriguing challenge. That is my motivation “challenge”, and I find it interesting every time I go through the catalogue to see the kind of works that have been selected. The featured works are always fascinating, thought-provoking, fresh and each individual artist’s work has its own unique signature to it. All of this gave me food for thought.

Tell us a little about why you created the piece you submitted?                                       

The piece I have created carries a personal concept that has been drawn from my experiences. The performance video featuring a sculptural mask gives me the inspiration and strength to actually say out loud the things I could not say in words. In other words, it gives me the courage to visually depict my private and personal horrors. Metaphorically, I want the audience/ viewers to engage and be part of my daily life and sorrows. Overall, the sculptural crown mask and my performance with the silent background creates that sense of a private space. It feels like as a viewer we are in the same room.

Art competitions can be a huge motivator for artists. What do you think of this statement? 

Art competitions give artists an insight into how the art industry operates as well as the state of the industry and the direction in which the art industry is moving.  Moreover, art competitions present an opportunity to see other artists’ creativity.   

Why is it important to focus on the experience rather than just the prizes?                           

This experience gives me a platform as an emerging young female artist, to engage in a prestigious, internationally recognised space. Furthermore, it allows my work to be seen in public; for my name and work to be recognised. And also it gives me the opportunity to interact with other artists and see their works too.

Do you have a mentor and how important is mentorship in developing a career?                                                                                                             

My partner who is also an artist, is supportive, encouraging and gives me advice about my career; so I would consider him my mentor. Moreover, my supervisor as well, as he guides and disciplines me. This mentorship is significant as I am able to improve my career and the way I am thinking.  Mentorship also assists me in making well-informed decisions that give me professional growth and relevant knowledge that I need in order to have a successful art career.

What excites you about the creative process?

In my case, what excites me about the creative process is that it gives me comfort, closure and a sense of hope. My art-making process on its own acts as a catharsis that heals my wounds and help me in dealing with the difficulties I have in life. It allows me to view life in a positive manner. Although, sometimes it becomes nerve-wracking as I have to go back, rewind and reference from the trauma itself again. I get flashbacks so must be able to communicate with myself on how to move forward; how do I let go of my experiences through my artistic creativity. I must unfold the past because really it is what defines who I am today.

Tell us about your preferred medium/s ...and why?

I prefer mixed mediums depending on the type of mood and sense of feeling I want for the specific three-dimensional or two-dimensional work to depict and express. I like exploring a lot with new mediums that according to me speak my language. For instance, for my sculptures, I prefer using pot scrubs, steel wool, plastics and wool.

If you could summarise your entered work in three independent words, what would it be?

Bold, fascinating and courageous.

Has entering this competition taught you anything about yourself?                                        

Yes, it has taught me that I am brave, fearless and bold. Previously I have always doubted myself and thought negatively about myself.

Which South African artists do you admire and why?

I admire Penny Siopis, Mary Sibande and Nandipha Mthambo. I am inspired by their overall journey to reach where they are today. Not to mention their content and context in the arts. Their artworks are amazing.

What are you currently working on? What is next for you as an artist?

I am currently an Intern at the Polokwane Art Museum. And I am planning on curating a group exhibition at the museum. The next thing for me as a female artist is to be able to elevate not only myself but other artists around me by giving us the opportunity to be recognised.

What impact would winning this competition have on you?                                                      

It will be a breakthrough for me. Hopefully, it will open other doors that will take my career even further. Again, as a victim of rape, it will give me the chance to reach out to other rape victims and give them a hand to help them heal through such a traumatic experience. It will build a solid ground for my line of work.

The winner and the merit award winners receive lots of publicity. Is this something that excites or daunts you?

It excites me.

What does innovation in the visual arts mean to you?

It means coming up with fresh ideas and concepts that people can engage with and relate to. Furthermore, innovation educates and demonstrates liberation through visual works for those who are still stuck somewhere.

Art is… liberation, healing and living. In my work, I render personal and private issues that have always been a problem not only in our country but globally. Rape is a serious, emotion-breaking offence that traumatises the whole nation. It seems people have normalised this cruel act, whereas the victims suffer the after-effects. And there are those unfortunate victims who are unable to deal with the pain and trauma of rape to a point where they commit suicide. Therefore, in my work, I attempt to express my emotions as a victim and how heavy a load it can be. Being sexually abused robs a lot of things from you as a person. Currently, our nation has become a pool of tears and blood for the suffering of women and children who are being objectified and molested daily. It is no longer a safe place to be. Perhaps is there something wrong with our thinking and the way in which our society as a whole behaves.

Download the 2019 catalogue here