Balekane Legoabe was the 2019 winner of the StateoftheART Gallery Award and now presents her prize solo exhibition titled ‘What It Feels Like To Be In Water’ (WIFLTBIW).
From 18 June – 4 July 2020, using a combination of digital collage, sound art and animation, Legoabe explores issues of mental health, the relationship between hope and despondence, and creates an audio-visual immersive experience to communicate these difficult emotions.
Legoabe said: “The buck stands as a figure that the viewer can connect with – sort of like the antagonist in the series of artworks. The buck is the thing that represents me/the viewer. As the buck stands in the artworks, it is represented as going through the experiences of “what it feels like to be in water” (the ups and downs of life). A figure that, like humans, is dependent on water for life and for survival. For me, the buck as a creature emanates simultaneous feelings of warmth and distance.
“The buck is warm and present because we can connect with it on the fact that it is a living mammal, like the human. But there’s a certain absence in its eyes. It just stares. It’s not complex – it’s eyes are almost like hollow empty shells, that’s where the distance comes in. As the viewer you feel drawn to the buck but at the same time you feel distant. The same way we simultaneously feel drawn to and distant from aspects of ourselves and our life experiences.”
WIFLTBIW is designed to be experienced as a single body of work, with the digital collage, animation and soundscapes being consumed as one overwhelming multi-sensory artwork.
Legoabe concluded: “You are invited to engage with the work: to feel as though you are being immersed in a deep, dark, violent body of water: being left there to get uncomfortably lost in the messy detail of the work and the cryptic nature of the audio. I invite you, the viewer to participate and use the work as a tool to explore, unpack or simply allow yourself to feel overwhelmed by the parts of your lives that are dark, violent, uncomfortable and confusing.
“You are then encouraged to step away having engaged with the work, and know that there is light and hope and that you will not be consumed by your problems (the deep dark wave of water) forever.”
Now in its 3rd year, the Award operates as a not-for-profit initiative of StateoftheART Gallery, and is recognized as an exciting, high profile competition for emerging artists from South Africa.
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