Q&A with Gallery Award Finalist: LEBOGANG MABUSELA

We asked the Ten Gallery Award Finalists some questions to help you get to know them as we prepare for the special Group Exhibition at StateoftheART’s Cape Town gallery from 06 – 22nd September 2018 and the final round of judging. The winner will be awarded a R10 000 cash prize and a solo exhibition with the gallery in 2019.


See more about the Gallery Award here.

Tell us about yourself. Where are you based and where do you get your inspiration for your work?

I am fondly known as Lebo or Mogul. I am a sculptor, a paper artist, a zine queen and a monotype babe. I stay in Pretoria, but I work in Johannesburg. I get my inspiration from reading. Not only reading of texts, but also visual cultures, other artists and being critical also.

Do you have any rituals or habits involving your art-making that you can tell us about?

I am always checking my emails, social media accounts and scouting for calls for artists opportunities right before I get my hands dirty. Every week I have to supplement my research with a text relating to my practice, or pop-culture.
Which new trends or South African artists do you find inspiring at the moment?

The embracing reclaiming and re-imagining of “traditional” visual culture and heritage of South Africa. Artists like Esther Mahlangu, Laduma Ngxokolo and Sho Madjozi to name a few.

How is your work relevant in a South African context? And globally?

My work interrogates the misconceptions around womanhood and femininity. Not just any type of womanhood. My work aims to disrupt the set ideals about the domestic and a logical black womanhood. I use the doily as that familiar symbol of femininity. This object has travelled coming from the west into SA, being appropriated and used by black women, black women knitted them and inserted values and meaning. They got passed down along with manners and home training from mother to daughter until women stopped knitting. Then they made their comeback from big factories overseas, they were mass produced.
My doilies are global objects, that tell stories about africanfeminism.

What do you think South African artists can contribute to the global art market?

South African artists can help promote stories that are not singular and universal about what African art is today. There could be something exciting if South African artists and artists from other countries would collaborate. Especially artists in the global South.

What do you think of the StateoftheART Gallery Award as a platform for emerging artists in South Africa?

The StateoftheART Gallery Award is a huge career step, the level of care and engagement that goes into collaborating with an emerging artist is fantastic and it allows for the artworks being sold and featured to have a the presence of the artist behind them. And this is achieved through inclusion of a bio, interviews and YouTube videos as part of the artist’s profile and marketing.
How do you think selling art online and marketing through social media is valuable?

Speaking from the perspective of an artist. The fact that I found out about StateoftheART Gallery Award online, and before entering the competition I went to all the social media pages of the gallery and the signed artists to determine if I would be suited and if I would benefit from entering the competition. I don’t even live in Cape Town, I have never been to Cape Town, but now I am connected to StateoftheART.

How do you feel about the upcoming group exhibition and the other shortlisted finalists’ works?

I think that the exhibition is going to look great, already curatorially the works speak to each other. Everyone’s artwork seems well executed.

Do you have any plans for the coming year?

I am planning on renting a studio space in a building shared by many other professional artist. A place like August House, the Bag factory and Victoria Yards for me to work there.

If you win the Gallery Award, tell us about what you have in mind for your solo exhibition in 2019?

I am still going to use the medium of printmaking. An exhibition that seeks to undermine the shame around menstruation. An exhibition where doilies will be used to map out the strange and wonderful bodies that we inhabit. An exhibition about access, nature and lived experiences.

Lebogang Mabusela fondly known as Lebo or Mogul is a Johannesburg based visual artist who grew up in Pretoria. She is a paper artist, a sculptor, a zine queen and a monotype babe. Her work is informed by the lives of domestic objects and critiques around gender norms. Lebo works in various mediums but only chooses to master a few. Besides having worked on a few public engagements that are supposedly meant to impress the reader. Lebo pops up on the "studio" and gets activated everyday.