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Nthabiseng Boledi Keka, the art of transformation

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Nthabiseng Boledi Keka, the art of transformation

Photo credit: Nthabiseng Kekana

Text: Tatiana Stolyarova

28/09/22

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Nthabiseng Kekana is an artist born in Johannesburg, South Africa. She is currently living and practicing in Alexandra.

Nthabiseng started drawing in her early primary school years and later went to the National school of the Arts, where she majored in Three Dimensional Design. After graduating from NSA she entered the LISOF (fashion Design Institute) #MyFashionCareer bursary competition and came first runner up, she ended up studying for a higher certificate. She also later applied to study Digital Media in Design at the University of Johannesburg and currently holds a degree in Digital Media in Design (Multimedia).

After obtaining her degree she began her journey as a full-time artist. She grounds her work in Spirituality and uses a harmonic range of mediums from acrylic, charcoal, pastels, fine-line, natural fibres, and more to express the fluidity of creation. Her work has been exhibited In France and currently is in possession of major collectors all of the world in primarily London and the United States of America.

What does mean to you being artist?

Being an Artist to me means being on a path that leads to no destination, it is flowing with the waves of life and expressing and reflecting to all experiences of BEING consciously and subconsciously.

Being quite young and already transferring so deep if not to say ancient consciousness and wisdom thorough out your art, can you explain its source?

My source is God but I like to call this energy Ramasedi which means God in my language Sepedi. 2020 was such an awakening year personally for me and I caught myself returning to the truth essence of my being ’I’. Being quiet and listening I got to connect with my ancestors and I yearned to learn more from those who came before me and connecting with my ancestors reminded me why and now. And it is through this transformation that I got to understand my purpose which I believe is absolute to everyone that our purpose is returning to the Source whatever you call it for this purpose cannot be abandoned for it is within all.

“Artist’s duty and concern is to reflect the time” as Nina Simone says in one of the first video you posted on your IG account. What time do you reflect in your works?

In my works I reflect the time of now though I agree with what Albert Einstein said that time is relative, for it can be different to each person. I do at most times create my works from my subconscious mind and after time of self reflection I notice patterns of past experiences and traumas that still linger for they have not been healed.

In your artworks you often use raffia string. Can you explain its metaphorical meaning if it has one?

I use Raffia which is natural fibre from a Palm tree and when I started using this fibre it was a metaphorical symbol of ones roots and interconnectedness with our ancestors ‘as above so below’, but recently in new coming works it serves as a ‘string’ (pun intended) of dialogue between my conscious and subconscious mind. My subconscious mind serving as a vessel of counsel by my ancestors and Ramsedi (God).

Can you name any artists, dead or living, who influence and inspire you?

I am influenced and Inspired by artists such as Mme Mmakgabo Sebidi, Wangechi Mutu, Alberto Giacometti, Mme Alina Ndebele , Simone Leigh , my mother who is an artist in her own right, and few emerging Artists like me.

Can you share with us the process of creation? How is the idea [of a certain art piece] born ? How much time can you spend on one piece?

To be honest I do not have a one way process of creating, some works are planned, some works come to me in a form of a vision and some I just release the train of thought and I create with flow in that moment. Some works take months to ‘finish’ (‘Art is never finished, only abandoned ‘- Leonardo Da Vinci), others weeks and others days. I never force myself to be in the flow of creation sometimes its there and others days it does not feel like it.

You studied Three Dimensional Design and Digital Media in Design. Do you apply this knowledge in your work or you currently concentrate on the physical dimension of art?

The three dimensional design does apply in some of the works I create especially when I am using other materials in my work ( eg: the raffia and beach sand). And as for my design degree I haven’t stepped in that territory yet , though the future of incorporating both worlds looks bright I have grand Ideas.Though it came in use when I had to use adobe suites to create my art portfolio (jk)

Would you share with us your future plans? Any exhibits to come, international art residence in we can meet you?

My works are currently showing in two exhibitions now both women shows in Johannesburg, there are new works coming with Undiscovered Canvas and the rest shall unfold itself in time.

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