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  • Stefanie Savary X Lesego Seoketsa

    Stefanie Savary transforms a Lesego Seoketsa art piece into artisan fashion. October, 2022 Makwande Art Residency’s recent collaboration with designer Stephanie Savary - 12 Robes, translates Lesego Seoketsa’s captivating painting into an exclusive artisan-made silk jumpsuit. The original artwork ‘Never Too Much’ was painted by Seoketsa during her Makwande Art Residency in Mandelieu La Napoule, France 2022 Savary recalls being inspired by Seoketsa’s vibrant and expressive works. The collaboration leads Savary into her latest edition of her ART&COUTURE series, converting unique artworks into exclusive fashion items. Her process is a dance that begins with photographing the artwork as faithfully as possible. Once she decides upon a design, the artwork is printed into high quality fabric. Each item is then hand made by an artisan on a per order basis. A total of 12 items are made per series, making them a must-have lifetime experience. Never Too Much is a painting reminiscent of 70’s glamour and highlife depicting a bold black figure in a purple suit and hat. Savory says, ‘I wanted to translate the feelings that arise from looking at a beautiful and touching painting into a wearable experience. I interpreted the suit depicted on the canvas as a wide flowing silk jumpsuit, using the top part of the painting as the jumpsuits body. I then translated the bottom red and pink chequered pattern as a turban accessory’. Reimagining works into functional art expands the audience’s experience and gives longevity to art works. The jumpsuit is available in a labelled limited edition on the Stefanie Savary 12 Robes website. "Never Too Much " by Lesego Seoketsa Makwande Art Residency not only affords African female artists the opportunity to practice in France but to also meet and collaborate with other formidable creatives. The experience is a collective expansion of reach and impact. It is the fostering of female led and female executed initiatives to create racial and gender equity in the art industry. Nomaza Nongqunga Coupez & Tatiana Stolyarova wearing Stefani Savary jumpsuit It is through such bold initiatives that continental rifts are bridged. As Dostoyevsky said – beauty will save the world. This artisan-made jumpsuit is available on order in a labeled limited edition of 12 Written by : Dzunisani Ngobeni

  • The Reinvention of Lesego Seoketsa

    Art (verb): to continuously bring into being new forms of engaging with the world. Contrary to popular belief, art is not a noun but a verb. It is an action, persistent and unrelenting, that requires dedicated agents for its production . Art is not limited to a physical or conceptual framework, it is a continuous collaboration between actors and spaces. Yearly, Flight Logistics - a courier service and one of Undiscovered Canvas’ sponsors - actively engages in the redefinition of spaces and modes of artistic production, through their initiative #ArtonWheels Launched in 2016, #ArtonWheels Vehicle Wrap Public Art Program spotlights contemporary visual artists by wrapping their art on courier vans. Together, artist and collector, reinvent the artwork in both its form and function. According to Flight Logistics, #ArtonWheels is “the perfect opportunity to showcase different artists and styles of art and actively help make it accessible to a wider audience” (Flight Logistics, 2022). #ArtonWheels focuses on promulgating underrepresented and marginalised artists and broadcasting their works to a diverse, inclusive, audience: everyone. The winner of this year’s 21st #ArtonWheels competition was Undiscovered Canvas’ very own Lesego Seoketsa. Seoketsa joined us at Makwande Art Residency last May 2022, where she debuted and completed her latest collection “Awaken”. Awaken is both a tribute to the emancipatory and transformative role of adornment and aesthetics, and a plea for South African women to enjoy comfort. To revel in opulence and tranquility. Seoketsa’s artworks demonstrate the centrality of jewelry in women’s self expression through the extravagant dress or gold earrings donned by her characters. However, Seoketsa also valorises the importance of immaterial luxuries, such as time. Veiled in suppliances for abundance and peace, is a reminder to be present. Her message is immortalised on #ArtonWheels 21st wrap: “Stop running from the present…Now is the best place to be”. Lesego Seoketsa is Undiscovered Partner’s third artist to collaborate with Flight Logistics. #ArtonWheels 21st wrap, is a dare to live and to be awakened by the beauty of being. Written by Jean Sheila Messi Liberal Arts and Sciences undergraduate

  • Upon Linen We Gather

    February, 2021 SoShiro Gallery – Marylebone, London The African vernacular experience is a tapestry of language and its dialects, familial cultural norms and their tribal nuances, the pursuit of greatness anchored in the gravitas of communal duty. It is on this tapestry of intersectional culture, in a west London gallery that my social axis is tilted. SoShiro Gallery – Marylebone, London The door is opened by a tall, beautiful woman, with a dreadlocked ponytail, who welcomes us with homely ease. The gallery, at first sight, looks like its former life, a Georgian Marylebone white terraced home. This style of display is a far echo from the white-walled gallery norm. Instead, the works hang against floor-to-ceiling geometric walls. The featured pieces of contemporary furniture give the art a familial and intimate poise, making the majestic attainable, liveable. I later learn that the woman is Shiro Muchiro, Kenyan born interior architect and founder of SoShiro Gallery. Her work centers on mixed media collaborations and expanding our experience beyond museums into lived spaces. Nomaza Nongqunga Coupez and Lulama Wolf at the Makwande Art Residency in Antibes, South of France We turn into what would’ve been the living room and in it stands an icon in the South African art industry, Nomaza Nongqunga Coupez, draped in copper-orange velvet. The France-based entrepreneur and founder of Undiscovered Canvas, with a focus on “promoting investment in African arts”, greets us wholeheartedly. The girl had a split second to decide who I’d be in this narrative, but fangirl and hype-woman be my original nature! I Marylebonically, black-girl-in-an-art-gallery, lost my mind. She gracefully talks us through some of the pieces she’s curated for this exhibition. Her pride is that of a midwife, holding a new born in the air. Lulama Wolf at the Makwande Art Residency in Antibes, South of France The African perspective is a common caricature in western culture. We are not often set up as intelligent, fully formed, positive contributors to our own narrative and to the world’s at large. But here I am, in a house exclusively dedicated to showcasing Luluma Wolf’s phenomenal work. Her art embodies a strong African vernacular language with a contemporary tone. She peels at the layers surrounding pre-colonial dignity and spirituality. In this collection of Ndizalwe Nge Ngubo Emhlophe (I was born wrapped in a white blanket), she works through the mediums of acrylic paint mixed with Mediterranean sand, carefully stroked onto linen canvas. It is upon her linen canvases that we gather and marvel. The work is gritty yet gentle. The prominent eye is a call, a cry, a conversation, a prayer. SoShiro Gallery – Marylebone, London The evening ends with communion and warm drinks. At this point, we have also met Mae, Maya, and Elle of Zambian descent. Nomaza is generous with her time and heart. We all share a full spread of hope and the lessons of lived moments. We loan each other courage; we barter in beauty and purpose. I remember my WHY and breathe in this answered prayer. I STAN every single woman I met on this day: their generosity of spirit, their intelligence, and the important work they do for black women. You don’t know you are writing an International Women’s Month piece until you are writing one. Written by : Dzunisani Ngobeni

  • Awaken!

    July 2022 Lesego Seoketsa in Henri Matisse X-Studio in Nice, photographed by Matthieu Chatonnier It is a mighty feat to gather one’s roots, to pull yourself out of firm soil in pursuit of creating work far beyond our consciousness and time. Lesego Seoketsa’s residency journey with Makwande Art Residency is the time-lapse of a blooming garden. Oh, how lush, how beautiful. Seoketsa’s residency begins with her seeking to expand her series ‘Amacici’, a Nguni word for ‘earrings’. The series aimed at exploring one of Seoketsa’s repressed childhood longings for adornment and beautification discouraged in her religious upbringing. In dressing her expressionist characters with striking, larger-than-life accessories, she confronted the dogma of modesty and the patriarchal policing of women’s self-expression through dress. It was also an ode to the township women she grew up admiring, who despite unimaginable challenges, asserted their inherent dignity and identity through personal style. This work, transplanted into the French Mediterranean context, takes to new depths. Set on the coast of Mandelieu La Napoule, the Makwande Art Residency apartment lays at the mercy of a sea as blue as the sky. Promenading along the French Riviera in the spring is a feast for the senses. Medleys of wild, blooming flowers accent terraces, purple bougainvillea hug doorposts, and tip-over balconies. The flowers have much to teach in their determination to adorn life despite the elements or obstacles. Seoketsa sees their essence, and the full embodiment of their purpose – to simply be. The wildlife has thawed and is abuzz, in symphony with a basking accordionist. Streams of people meander past each other, dining leisurely in cafes, at ease. In this cosmic collision of the Mediterranean’s nature and culture, a new colour palette, reminiscent of 70’s art, emerges. Nomaza Nongqunga Coupez & Lesego Seoketsa on the beach of Mandelieu La Napoule, photographed by Matthieu Chatonnier With the residency only a month and a half long, time and her experience of it quickly become pivotal. Centring herself in the present moment is her anchor through the waves of past fears and future anxieties. In fully inhabiting her ‘now’, she allows her environment to carry her process, to see with cleansed eyes. She is worthy and her work is enough. She says of the journey, ‘When I started Amacici I was exploring repressed desires. I have walked the length of that experience and have emerged free of beliefs that no longer serve my authentic existence. Adornment is no longer the centre of the paintings, but the accessories are still featured as signifiers of themes such as time and how it gives us the ability to measure our growth.’ She represents this with surrealist Cartier watches, inscribed with mantras of learned experience. Through memory and emotion, she time travels to a younger self, borrowing from vibrant yellow poppies to depict a child in dress, naïve and pure. Seoketsa’s vibrant palettes calls in the audience of bees and ants we see fossilised in her paintings. Exploration of the theme of time by Lesego Seoketsa during the Makwande Art Residency Many women in developing nations have little respite from the demands of life, making simple pleasures a luxury. She observes from coastal French women the daily practice of gathering beauty and joy, of investing in ease and rest. Their essence and confident translation of personality into dress and jewellery, inspires the evolution of her abstract female form. What began as portraits in ‘Ámacici’ evolves into fully formed, bold, black figures, dressed in luxurious colours. ‘’I wanted to memorialise black women, such as my mother, in contexts of ease and leisure. I wanted to place black bodies in an environment of abundance and softness. Their aura and postures are a nod to Malik Sidibe’s photography.’ Seokesta says. ‘A new place forces you to let go. You can’t stay the same because your environment informs the decisions you make. I have had to graft myself into a new way of life, to expand my identity.’ This change is evident in stronger 3-dimensional oil works on larger canvasses. ‘The residency has accelerated the development of my artistic technique and conceptualisation. I have achieved in a month what would have easily taken a few years.’, she beams, her renaissance palpable. The works are to be exhibited in the winter of 2023, in London. She hopes that they spark hope and reinvention in collectors and enthusiasts. A reminder to simply be. Black women can be resilient and soft all at once. When asked what she looks forward to about the exhibition, she replies, ‘I wish for new eyes, to see the works as the audience would see them.’ It is the desire of all artists to meet their work again for the first time. Her vulnerability is inspiring, her work is transfixing. Oh, how lush, how beautiful. Written by : Dzunisani Ngobeni

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