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"In my response to what my close friends and families think about me, I decided to create works in which the exploration and investigation of the self is informed by outside thought. My response to the characters is:

Gentle, I do not like discomfort, I would rather not argue or disagree even if it’s about something that I believe in. My gentle persona always comes off as soft in different situations maybe because my avoidance is in silence, I get anxious around people so it is always the easy way out but then again maybe this is not the angle that this title was based on.

Control, I have always had this voice in my head that tells me that I need to know every single detail of what it is I have to do or produce. This does hinder me from doing a lot because I am easily drawn to what might go wrong however at the end of the day, I cannot control everything.

Enough nothing is ever enough, enough is an illusion because there’s always more to do.

Steady, I think that being steady is part of my work and not who I am because my mind is always working faster than I want or would prefer, my work might give me a sense of calmness and a good place to slow down my thoughts, maybe I am steady after all.

Strict perhaps the title was given because of my unhealthy habit of overworking myself, a habit of always wanting to create work and always feeling that there is more to do, a feeling of not having enough time. I am strict to a certain degree but I don’t completely agree with this title.

Calm I’ve been called come before and this doesn’t really surprise me, some say it’s just who I am but for people who see this I am grateful because they can see my process, my growth as it happens, it’s only sad that I do not see myself as such as a calm process of growth, to me everything feels more like chaos.

Obsessive once I repeat something for so long it begins to form a habit, it sticks to me like skin, and getting over that thing becomes harder the more I try to escape it, I do obsess about things that concern me, maybe because it's hard to articulate what I truly feel, things that bother, things that make me happy. If ever there is a time that I feel like I have done justice to any subject I work on this that will be the day my obsession will be tamed.

Free spirit it’s a very rare title to get and a level that I don’t see so very often there are moments that being completely free are present but I don’t notice it, to me that moment can only exist when there is no room for doubt, no space for self-harm and critic. The feeling of being free is not easy to call nor is it easy to maintain.

All these people are YOU. Even if I were to disagree with these titles, they do contain a level of truth. They also do contribute to the person I am and how I relate to the world around me. Sometimes we fail to understand that there are different versions of you out there, versions you do not have control over, we may deny if at all these versions are not in alignment with what we currently believe in but we can't deny that we have a different version of someone else." - Kutlo Mabua, 2021. 
Acquired directly from the artist

July 31, 2020

Kutlo Mabua | Lerato Motshwarakgole | Lerato Motshwarakgole


October 6, 2021

Kutlo Mabua - artist in residence | Bag Factory Artists' Studios | Bag Factory Artists' Studios