A3E Artist Profile: Shakil Solanki

10and5 is dedicated to bringing you talent from across the South African creative industry by providing a platform for emerging creatives to showcase their work to a wider audience. Driven by this dedication, we have put together a new initiative, the Artist Acceleration and Exposure Programme (A3E), which aims to upskill emerging artists across South Africa, offers a platform for talented artists to reach new markets, and helps them break into the art scene.

Shakil Solanki is currently completing his fourth year of study at the Michaelis School of Fine Art. He explores the medium of printmaking – using traditional methods to create print and installation-based work.

His work is informed by his recreational time spent within Cape Town’s natural environments and investigates the visual and conceptual motif of a garden; a place for secret desires, truth, sexuality, inclusion, dreams, and beauty.

The organic place acts as a platform for acceptance and processing of vulnerable experiences, depression, insecurities, and questions around his identity. Solanki’s Indian cultural heritage stands as a central source of inspiration for his work.

Solanki’s works allude to these fine intersections, observing the tenuous subtleties of desire, longing, love, and heartbreak. Picturesque environments are splayed through with homoerotic figures in ambiguous trysts, simmering with tension and modicum of pain underneath.

Violence and apprehension become intertwined with lust and love; they take root within the inhabitants of the garden, echoed visually via tropes of layering, repetition and occasional overgrowth. Bodies twist in the same manner of flowers and surrounding flora, caught in permanent flux. A meditative space of introspection and intimacy is opened, where Solanki’s works reflect an emotional vulnerability, via recognition of our most susceptible tendencies.

Between 10 and 5