Ofentse Seshabela is a multi-disciplinary artist, originally hailing from the vibrant city of Pretoria and currently based in the creative hub of Cape Town. Seshabela's artistic journey is an exploration of the intricate tapestry of socio-economic and political realities that shape our society and profoundly impact its people. With a keen eye for unraveling the complex threads of contemporary life, Seshabela has emerged as a distinctive voice in the South African art scene.
His artistic voyage has taken him from the shores of Cape Town to the bustling streets of Johannesburg, where he has exhibited his work, captivating audiences with his thought-provoking creations. In 2020, he embarked on a solo exhibition, a significant milestone that highlighted the depth and maturity of his artistic expression. Additionally, he has left his mark on numerous group shows and art fairs across South Africa, reinforcing his place in the national art landscape.
Beyond his artistic pursuits, Seshabela's passion extends to the realm of art education. He currently serves as an Art educator at the prestigious Peter Clarke Art Center, specializing in FET Drawing and mixed media. His dedication to nurturing the next generation of artists is evident in his commitment to empowering young minds through the transformative power of art. In parallel with his educational role, Seshabela manages his own independent studio, where his creative journey continues to unfold. This studio serves as a crucible for both his personal artistic practice and community-driven projects, demonstrating his unwavering commitment to the enriching and unifying potential of art.
"Manyonyoba," a colloquial term rooted in the Nguni languages and translated as "the sneaky one," holds a prominent place in the vernacular of South African society. This term gained notoriety through the pioneering kwaito group, BOP, and came to symbolize a troublesome, non-law-abiding individual who wreaks havoc in their life and the lives of others.
Inspired by the complex connotations of this term, I have endeavored to deconstruct the negative stereotypes that have unfairly plagued black men in our society. The art I create seeks to challenge the deeply ingrained perceptions that have painted black men as the source of all societal problems, a notion far removed from reality.
The figure depicted in my artwork wears an expression that is somber, laden with sadness, and etched with inner turmoil. The textures etched onto his face serve as symbols of the arduous challenges that black men encounter in their daily battles to overcome various adversities. The background, characterized by a network of organic red lines intersecting in myriad directions, represents the pervasive confusion and misdirection that often clouds the minds of men who continually face rejection by society, regardless of their earnest efforts.
Through my art, I seek to challenge preconceptions and spark conversations that explore the complex and multifaceted experiences of black men. By diving into these depths, I hope to pave the way for a more profound understanding of their stories, their struggles, and their resilience.
In a world filled with labels and biases, my work aims to uncover the humanity that unites us all, encouraging us to look beyond the surface and see the richness of each individual's narrative.