20 Sep Thebe Phetogo’s figurative paintings acknowledge the unseen
“Being an African in the 21st century, I am exposed to at least two pervading ideas in my own life; my own cultural background and Western thought. What happens when these ideas confront each other? What happens if someone rejects them completely?” asks self-taught Botswana-based painter Thebe Phetogo.
His work references both Western and Motswana symbols, creating a dichotomy between different worldviews. Figurative subjects are brightly rendered and interrogate how culture, politics and history affect personal narratives. The unseen, unsaid and unacknowledged inspire him most of all.
“My work explores the construction of identity and narratives at an individual level. The constructs we allow to inform the way we view ourselves and how we live our lives. For example, all societies have their own notions of culture and gender and what it entails… I try to play with accepted ‘truths’ and ask how and why they came to be so, without necessarily trying to give or demand any particular answer,” he explains.