Born in Lebowakgomo, South Africa and working, predominantly, on the mediums of photography, ﬁlm and text, Tsoku Maela’s work concerns itself with the motivations of most social issues through the observation and study of human behavior and psyche, in hopes of creating a universal understanding of such motivations through dialogue and a unique visual language that borrows from the surrealist and Afrofuturist movement(s).
“An archivist of a future African past in the present time, I wish not only to preserve but to rewrite the collective memory of blackness across the spectrum of her muddied hues in a language so vivid and worthy of our rebellion. To become we re-imagine what is and what is not. The edge we once knew to be fear became a springboard for us to leap into the unknown only so our dreams could learn to fly. Therefore the Afrofuturist dreams in Surrealism.“Tsoku Maela
Concerned with the human condition, the visceral, spiritual, socio-economical and geo-political landscapes, the conversations many consider too taboo to grant space and time – his only desire is to set a ﬁre of love and hope in the heart of anyone who comes across his work, to inspire youthful energy that seeks to create and ﬁght for sustainable change while archiving a beautiful and ever evolving African past, present and future.
Tsoku Maela’s new body of work, Book of Maskuline, explores the effects of a manufactured, toxic masculine culture and religion, both in mind and spirit, and how this has broken down the pillar of love and upheld violence all in the name of the “Father”.
While the artist agrees that Men are trash and acknowledges the validity and necessity of movements such as “Me too”, he also seeks to look deeper into the cause of this illness and not only to comment on its symptoms.
Book of Maskuline is a multi-media body of work that comprises of 3 self-portraits, 2 reimagined bible scriptures and a short. The work looks into ideology of the heirloom that is Masculinity in the contemporary world, where it has become a weapon of destruction instead of equal to, and in tandem with, the divine femininity. The series was created to start a dialogue, among young men, about the role they play in choosing who they are for themselves outside of the popular and often misguided consensus of a penis worshiping society.
Maela was nominated as one of 25 African artists for the CAP Prize 2019.