Atrocious injustices in art form

SHARE   |   Sunday, 15 February 2015   |   By Ontametse Sugar
Thuthuka's conceptual art pieces at the Thapong Visual Art Center Thuthuka's conceptual art pieces at the Thapong Visual Art Center PIC: Ricardo Kanono

Though art work always have different connotations, some people’s artistic work goes far beyond the perfect artistic presentation into telling a lot of stories on things that happens in our day to day lives, and  the situations that we go through as human beings. Conceptual artist Tumelo Thuthuka’s presentation of deformed human figures will definitely take your mind into wild thoughts about what is happening there and the meanings of everything. In his art piece Thuthuka portrays 3 men who are disabled, the other one does not have both legs and hands, and the other one does not have hands but have short legs, while the other one has both short limbs. There is one big metal kite that is on the wall, in which the string attached to it is made of barbed wire that goes from the kite on the wall to one of the necks of the disabled figures.  And as if that illustration alone won’t make your imagination desolate, there are also apples down which have few bites and have now been spoiled. The man behind this masterpiece that will ignite your curiosity revealed that it is a multifaceted piece that inspires to interrogate socio political ills, freedom, and lack of freedom, inability, access and inaccessibility.
“The whole piece looks at the atrocious injustices that are imposed upon people. There are a lot of forces involved,” he said.
Most of the time a kite is one piece of object that is associated with fun, with kids and everyone else playing with them in an open field, like in some countries where there can be family outings in a very open space like a park, where the families comes together to fly their longest kites and see which ones will fly higher. This one was different, since it is made of metal, and instead of a very light rope that holds it, it is held by a barbed wire which also ties the neck of one of the disabled figures. Thuthuka said this is the case because it shows that there is no freedom whatsoever within the three figures and even in the surroundings within them. According to the artist this portrays deformity in the community that we live in, and how some people do not have freedom anymore and are just in sadness.  He said that the barbed wire also signifies that in terms of safety, the community is not safe and mostly making reference to the alleged situations that have been happening in the country where people’s houses have been broken into, and all the other things that were happening especially prior to end of last year.
One thing that is quite remarkable is that the artists revealed that when he sat down to come up with that presentation, he had a burden in his heart, and since art is what he does, that was the only way he can express himself. The other figure is covered with newspaper titles that varied from corruption, governance, judicial killings, and other ills in the society, and Thuthuka said he did this in order to interrogate those issues through art.
He revealed that his conceptual art is aimed at causing a debate and making people discuss those issues, in which he can never say someone is right or wrong the way they interpret it. The art piece definitely showed creativity and how artists can put something together that will make someone think harder about the situations that are going in their communities. From my own interpretations of the spoilt apples that have bites, this can definitely signal how the once so good nation and happy nation, have been nibbled with resentment and all sorts of bad things, which results in a bitter, damaged nation.

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