Kelebogile Marope is the 2015 Thapong Artist of the Year, beating more than 100 contestants for the prize. It was the first time for Marope to enter the competitions. Her artwork was iron print on a 254mmx355mm canvas, that explored explore three themes in her work which are domestic work, serialism or repetition and deception. She said that she saw the iron as the only thing that she can use to depict such. It took Marope two weeks to finish the artwork. “The work translates into the labour that is mostly not recognised within the domestic space, further elaborating to the quiet and unseen gesture tensions that occur within the home,” she said. Marope acquired her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2009, majoring in sculpture.
She went on to complete her Master of Fine Arts with distinction in 2013 from Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa. She works predominately in the medium of sculpture using the found object, white cement and crystal in her work. Her work engages the issues of nostalgia, familiarity and the implications of cleansing rituals in the domestic space. She said that she explores familiar household objects and reveals in practice how these ordinary objects are bound up with one's own history experiences and ideals. She is the former recipient of the Raymond Pullen Scholarship in 2010 and the Andrew Mellon Scholarship in 2013. In 2013 she also secured membership in the Visual and Performing arts of Africa (VIPAA) at Rhodes University.
One of the judges Jack Mazebedi said that they looked for originality, interpretation, clarity of subject matter, elegance and whether it stands out. He revealed that this year they have more professionalism than they had in the last few years. PS in the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture Louis Malikongwa said they will continue to sponsor the arts because they want to expose local visual artists to the international market. Other winners of the night were Emmanuel Selamolela in Ceramics, Ogopoleng Kgomoethata in photography and Moses Moaramele in print making.