Thina Dube's (b. 1993) work explores identity politics in South Africa. He considers identity’s many layers, both visible and hidden, and its fluid qualities, constantly changing and responding to social environments. He asks how local identities have been, and continue to be shaped, by colonialism, trade, and multi-culturalism, among other external forces.
In this newest body of work, Dube turns to look at internal forces in psychology and consciousness. He references the work of Carl Jung, one of the most influential forces on modern psychology and psychoanalysis, whose concept of “the shadow self” refers to the repressed part(s) of the unconscious mind, made up of the traits and feelings that individuals deny and would rather ignore.
"Growing up, we were always told to not focus on negatives, weakness, and darkness that we hold," says Dube. “We seldom accept our flaws and we praise perfection. We choose to assume certain roles for ourselves because they make us safe, and no one judges us.” Using silhouettes and layering in his paintings and monotypes, he explores ideas around concealment, embodiment, and self-awareness in relation to our shadow selves, and to the social expectations of others. His use of translucent handmade paper is suggestive of the uncomfortable vulnerability that we often push away.
Born in 1993 in Johannesburg, Dube graduated with a Fine Art diploma from the University of Johannesburg, holds a postgraduate diploma in Education, and teaches at the National School of the Arts. He is also an art therapist who has taught children with special needs. Dube has exhibited in multiple group shows in Johannesburg and Cape Town, as well as presenting two solo exhibitions with Guns & Rain. His most recent art fairs include Latitudes Johannesburg (2019), Joburg Art Fair (2018) and AKAA Paris (2018).