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Tiger Maremela explores the digital age and personal identify through the art of the meme

Tiger Maremela is an internet artist and DJ trying to make sense of the world through ongoing internet immersion. Working across the media of photography, video, writing, music and collage, the artist draws from their own experience when creating work, centering the lives of black, queer, trans-South Africans. Their latest offering is a meme-based residency with Floating Reverie, hosted on their Instagram account m3m3saviour.

Tiger’s meme-based artworks came about after Floating Reverie, an online art residency started in early 2014, had seen Tiger’s browser-based project Where some things are beautiful & everything hurtsand approached them about doing a two-week residency. Being an internet-obsessed millennial, Tiger had already been doing research on memes, queer internet activism and global south feminism, and it all clicked into place.

Tiger was intrigued by the phenomenon of the meme and memeing practices, and spent the two-week residency thinking through and producing memes with the intention on centering black, queer and trans experiences. “I was also interested in meme formats from a visual and text perspective, contextualizing and locating meme source material, and developing a distinct black queer meme aesthetic.”

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WHAT DO YOU MEAN I CANT BE THE MOTHER???

A post shared by Tiger Maremela (@m3m3saviour) on

m3m3saviour is a candid view into the life of an individual whose experiences have never been centred or exposed in the way that more privileged people’s have. Memes are ubiquitous and act as one of the things that help to unite young people across the globe, but the themes that are thought to be relatable and universal often only portray certain narratives while excluding others completely. m3m3saviour combats that simply by being and existing in a true and genuine way.

The artist’s previous offering, Where some things are beautiful and everything hurts, followed similar themes exploring the internet age and the black, queer and trans experience. The project looks at the possibility of black, queer and trans individuals taking up space and making more inclusive spaces. “Through imagining the possibilities that exist when we complicate our binary approaches, the artist seeks to interrogate the constellation of complicated ways of viewing, being viewed, questioning, being questioned, subjectivity and objectivity.” 

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THIS IS NOT WHAT I HAD IMAGINED IN MY HEAD

A post shared by Tiger Maremela (@m3m3saviour) on

The project combines various different digital media, from photography and collage, to screenshots and text posts, as well as three experimental ambient noise EPs, justice, Prince Moroka/Browser History and Future Soundscapes for Past Tense TraumasThe site that the project is hosted on provides an interactive, exploratory experience that allows the viewer to bear witness to but also engage with the work on display. As a whole, the project provides a beautiful, in-depth, intimate and vulnerable view into an individual’s lived experiences, which helps to centre and expose other lived experiences that might be similar. 

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