TAF22 - Mbali Tshabalala - Gallery 2

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MBALI TSHABALALA Ever-Present Shift

CURATORIAL STATEMENT The creative exploration of the self is one of the intrinsic drives of an artist, primarily the phenomenon of becoming (or even unbecoming) reflective as a conscious subject. When this exploration is concerned with the restraining conditions, this becoming is mainly a conscious development of critical practice, a creative manner of looking at and engaging social life and cultural sentiments that become prescriptive roles and expectations. What is most concerning in this situation is not only the governing but conditioning of the self by socio-cultural sensibilities, which turn, obliging traditions on contemporary society.

This exhibition explores the politics of identity and existence, A never fixed self and potentiality and actuality as a means of interpreting one's existence. The idea that we are invariably influenced and shaped by society is not new; everything is in flux and an ever-present change. Tshabalala's work embodies thematic expressions of one's identity, metaphorically juxtaposed over abstract backgrounds which reference society's expectations. In her works, Tshabalala is both the subject and the artist, making each image a self-reflection and a commentary on the varying scales at which society deems fit to interpret one. This exhibition is about becoming or unbecoming and reconciling the rationality of one's beliefs.

This undertaking of creative exploration and becoming is as complex as is liberatory; when the artist's drive is an introspective quest and a dialectical adventure of that which is both outside and inside the self. A ‘self’ becoming consciously reflective of its subjectivity and agency, which could pair as an agentive subjectivity so necessary for a transcendental engagement of being in the world, an existential awareness of oneself as a reflective subject searching for human ideals or possibilities to be human. At stake here is the question of one's existence as a political matter, in the sense that we comprehend politics as power relations, the contestation of whose right, sovereignty, meaning, value, culture, identity, aesthetic, perspective, belief or faith that matters.

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BIOGRAPHY Mbali Tshabalala is a multidisciplinary artist, curator, and creative entrepreneur. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art from the Tshwane University of Technology, studied printmaking at Artist Proof Studios and has a background in graphic design. Tshabalala is currently an artist in residency at Asisebenze Art Atelia (AAA), a newly formed vibrant and energetic studio space directed by celebrated art writer Ashraf Jamal. Tshabalala has an ongoing relationship with and collaborates with institutions such as David Krut Projects, Pretoria Arts Association and Constitution Hill. Tshabalala’s work is consigned in several galleries in major cities such as Johannesburg, Cape Town and Detroit and is in collections such as the JP Morgan Chace and William Humphries Art Gallery. In addition to working as curator and art administrator for the past seven years, Tshabalala has been practising as a full-time artist since 2019. Her works appear in art competitions such as Sasol New Signatures and the Thami Mnyele Fine Art Award and art auctions by Aspire Art Auction and Strauss & Co. Tshabalala is also the founder of the Collective UNTITLD.

ARTIST STATEMENT My artistic practice is an ongoing interrogation of ideals around states of being/existence as a phenomenon affected by race, gender, religion and philosophy. I find myself in a liminal space, transitioning from notions of myself as defined by womanhood and blackness. This body of work is an expression of my current state of being as I attempt to un-condition myself. Nonetheless, these identity categories are embedded in me and inform the person I am. I use photography to capture glimpses of a perceived self and the selfie/silhouette as a necessary means of constructing a new series of narratives. Through my oil-based paper lithography, I use the layering of the multiple printmaking techniques symbolically to reference the complexity of reality. My artistic processes include chine

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Flux, Acrylic ink and paper lithography on archival paper, Ed 1/1, 100 x 70cm, 2022

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Flow, Acrylic ink and paper lithography on archival paper, Ed 1/1, 100 x 70cm, 2022

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Fuse, Acrylic ink and paper lithography on archival paper, Ed 1/1, 100 x 70cm, 2022

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Amidst the Flow, Acrylic ink, Lino-cut and paper lithography on archival paper, Ed 1/1, 70 x 50cm, 2022,

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In an ever-present flux, Acrylic ink, Lino-cut and paper lithography on archival paper, Ed 1/1, 70 x 50cm, 2022

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Fluidity, Acrylic ink, Lino-cut and paper lithography on archival paper, Ed 1/1, 70 x 50cm, 2022

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Fruition, Acrylic ink, Lino-cut and paper lithography on archival paper, Ed 1/1, 70 x 50cm, 2022

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Zeitgeist II, Ghost print and embossing on archival paper, Ed 1/1, 35.4 x 50cm, 2022

Zeitgeist I, Ghost print and embossing on archival paper, Ed 1/1, 35.4 x 50cm, 2022

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Zeitgeist III, Ghost print and embossing on archival paper, Ed 1/1, 35.4 x 50cm, 2022

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Zeitgeist, Mixed media print and embossing on archival paper, Ed 1/3 EV, 100 x 70cm, 2022

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Finding Self, Mixed media (Water-colour, Paper Lithography, Monotype, Woodie Hand drawn) Technical description: 4 layers – Water-colour base, x2 oil-based black paper litho “figure”, oil-based black monotype with stencil block-out and hand drawn woodies, Somerset Soft White 300gsm, 112 x 76cm, 2022, Printer: Sbongiseni Khulu; David Krut Workshop collaboration GALLERY 2

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Presence of Self at the Table of Us, A/P, Mixed media, 56 x 39 cm, 2021, Printer: Sbongiseni Khulu; David Krut Workshop collaboration

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Presence of Self at the Table of Us, EV Ed 5/5, Mixed media (Tea, Paper lithography, Linocut, Chine collé), 56 x 39 cm, 2021, Technical description: 4 layers – Tea stain base, oil-based black paper litho “figure” and grey linocut on Alice Goldin, handwork with woodies, Chine used: Alice Goldin, Somerset Soft White 300gsm, 56 x 39 cm, 2021, Printer: Sbongiseni Khulu David Krut Workshop collaboration

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Presence of Self at the Table of Us, EV 3/5, Mixed media (Water-colour, Paper lithography, Linocut, Chine collé), 56 x 39 cm, 2021 – R16 000.00 (Incl. VAT) Framed, Technical description: 3 layers – Water-colour base, oil-based red paper litho “figure” on Alice Goldin and black linocut with stencil block-out. Chine used: Alice Goldin, Somerset Soft White 300gsm, Printer: Sbongiseni Khulu, David Krut Workshop collaboration

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Still I Am, EV 2/10, Mixed media (Paper lithography, Linocut), 29.2 x 21.7 cm,2021, Technical description:3 layers – Oil-based black and red paper litho, oil-based grey linocut. Somerset Soft White 350gsm. David Krut Workshop collaboration

Still I am, EV 5/10, Mixed media (Water-colour, Tea staining, Paper lithography), 29.2 x 21.7 cm, 2021 Technical description: 4 layers – Water-colour base, tea-stain with stencil block-out, oil-based black and red paper lithograph, Somerset Soft White 350gsm. 29.2 x 21.7 cm, 2021, Printer: Sbongiseni Khulu; David Krut Workshop collaboration GALLERY 2

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Still I am, EV 10 /10, Mixed media (Paper lithography, Linocut, Chine colle), Technical description: 4 layers – Oil-based grey linocut and red paper litho on Alice Goldin, oil-based black paper lithograph on red monotyped chine, oil-based black linocut with embossing, Chine used: Alice Goldin, Somerset Soft White 350gsm. 29.2 x 21.7 cm, 2021

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See through, Acrylic on paper, 150 x 150cm, 2022

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Untitled like Me, Acrylic on paper, 100 x 79cm, 2022

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Umfazi, Acrylic on paper, 158 cm x 208cm, 2022

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MBALI TSHABALALA Ever-Present Shift

Turbine Art Fair 2022

142 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood | (011) 447 0155/98

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