‘Keep it kitsch’ – A Q&A with Joburg-based visual artist Limb

Tamzyn Botha, also known by her creative moniker Limb, avant-garde artist who works with experimental and multimedia techniques. Her debut exhibition titled Limb presents Of, which took place at Glory in Johannesburg earlier this month, sees the artist indulge in play through video, costume, performance and sculpture in the realm of DIY.

Tamzyn flirts with kitsch as a way of exploring the boundaries of art and of good taste. Her sets, sculptures and costumes are assembled from banal found objects. “My intention always remained – to place focus on merging artistic mediums, using up materials and goetas I have hoarded over the years and remaining true to my DIY aesthetic. Keep it kitsch,” she explains.

The project is in collaboration with several artists: photographer Maryke Willems, filmmaker Jono Kay, and musicians Jarred Parenzee and Emile Hoogenhout.

The artist speaks to us about her approach to the body of work and her intentions behind it.

How did you begin? Who is Limb?
Begin life? Same as everyone else. Through a hairy vagina, which was actually in my first installation Of Blood – the mirror vagina to see where we came from. Career wise, I started building installations for music festivals as a young pup. Limb is my new moniker under which I will push all my works and explorations.

Photograph by Maryke Willems

Could you tell us about the title Limb and its context?
Limb presents Of comprises of Blood, Bone, Skin and Hair. On a root level, this is the biological development in the womb. I chose to represent my work with these textural guises to give weight to my new moniker and reveal my layers. “Limb” is how we move, so my works will to. “Of” explores the facets or experiences and people that mold you or me and our ego.

Why have you chosen to include performance in this piece?
Music is the reason I make art. It was about time I improvised in character for people to hopefully feel my sincerity. That is really when art is a verb, and is actually happening. Everything else is a recital. It was my favourite experience at the opening of the exhibition. That, and the improv jam by art collective Hadedah.

What is the narrative behind Of Bone?
Of Bone represents a regal empress moving slowly through a boneyard, a muted expression of death and choice. Paying ancestral homage to those that roamed before. Extinguishing the parts of self that don’t serve you anymore.

What was the inspiration behind Of Hair?
Of Hair represents a flossy depiction of glamour, with an overarching theme of the alter ego. She is the future you or me – our aspiration.

What is the narrative behind Of Blood?
Of Blood has more of a bubblegum feel. The photos explore sexuality, desire and control. Seen as a glossy high browed doll but beneath the surface she is bruised with memories. These images represent the masks we wear, of flirt and addiction, where the ego gains a life force.

What does Of Skin represent?
Of Skin represents horror and intensity. This character unravels my previous alias – Polarimpala, laying to rest. The head of a polar bear and distorted body of an impala, seperating at the seams. She is the crux of the ego, the dark and most challenging part of the ego developing.

What do you want audiences to take from this body of work?
Just live a little and wear more colour. It makes the streets look good. Appearance for sure can be a shallow existence however it has the power to be a great tool of expression and how we choose to be presented. Also dance more. It is the most transcendant experience, a free high if you allow yourself and give over to the music. It has to be good music in order for a spiritual release.

What do you have planned for the future?
Make more, get weirder. Move to the Transkei for a while to build, think and grow, and from there try be a better human, I guess.

To view more of Tamzyn Botha’s catalogue, contact the artist.

Follow Tamzyn on Facebook.

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