WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO BE IN WATER: solo exhibition by Balekane Legoabe

Please join us online for a 3D virtual viewing from 18 June - 4 July 2020

Balekane Legoabe, 2019 winner of the StateoftheART Gallery Award will present her solo exhibition WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO BE IN WATER online with StateoftheART from 18 June 2020 till 4 July 2020 as part of her prize. 


“Sometimes it drowns me. Sometimes it’s cleansing." 

In WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO BE IN WATER, Legoabe explores the relationship between hope and despondence. Using digital collage, sound art and animation, the artist creates an audio-visual experience to communicate both difficult and happy emotions, the waves and the stillness of the waters of life. 

"The buck stands as a figure that the viewer can connect with - sort of like the antagonist in the series of artworks. The buck is the thing that represents me/the viewer.  As the buck stands in the artworks, it is represented as going through the experiences of "what it feels like to be in water" (the ups and downs of life). A figure that, like humans, is dependent on water for life and for survival. For me, the buck as a creature emanates simultaneous feelings of warmth and distance. The buck is warm and present because we can connect with it on the fact that it is a living mammal, like the human. But there's a certain absence in its eyes. It just stares. It's not complex -  it's eyes are almost like hollow empty shells, that's where the distance comes in. As the viewer you feel drawn to the buck but at the same time you feel distant. The same way we simultaneously feel drawn to and distant from aspects of ourselves and our life experiences."  - Balekane Legoabe

Pretoria based visual artist Legoabe is the winner of the 2019 StateoftheART Gallery Award. Now in its 3rd year, the Award operates as a not-for-profit initiative of StateoftheART Gallery, and is recognized as an exciting, high profile competition for emerging artists from South Africa.



What it feels like to be in water (WIFLTBIW) is an encapsulation of feeling overwhelmed. Although made up of individual segments, WIFLTBIW is designed to be experienced as a single body of work, with the digital collage, animation and soundscapes being consumed as one overwhelming multi-sensory artwork.

You are invited to engage with the work: to feel as though you are being immersed in a deep, dark, violent body of water: being left there to get uncomfortably lost in the messy detail of the work and the cryptic nature of the audio. I invite you, the viewer to participate and use the work as a tool to explore, unpack or simply allow yourself to feel overwhelmed by the parts of your lives that are dark, violent, uncomfortable and confusing.

You are then encouraged to step away having engaged with the work, and know that there is light and hope and that you will not be consumed by your problems (the deep dark wave of water) forever. - Balekane Legoabe

Watch a video of the Instagram Live chat with the artist here