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Dikgwele Paul Molete (June 2008)


Second Offering 14 June – 5 July 2008 With relentless irony Dikgwele Paul Molete titled one of the art works on 'Second Offering', his second exhibition at Art on Paper Gallery, 'Reunion'. It tells the story of a young man from the DRC who is reunited with his mother after a lengthy search. She tells him outright to go back to the Congo and bring his sibling to South Africa as well. When the two of them arrive here, she has disappeared, leaving them like two lost children with their backs turned towards a dark forest, gazing through a tunnel of light into the future. In view of the current xenophobic attacks in South Africa, such indefatigable optimism can only be admired. Molete characteristically presents black and white linocut (Marleytile) prints and reaches new levels of abstraction and synthesis with regard to his exploration of issues in contemporary society. In his previous exhibition at Art on Paper Gallery, 'First Offering after the Fire' (May 2005), Molete referenced the fire that destroyed the Artist’ Proof Studio and caused the death of Nhlanhla Xaba in March 2003 and likened its destruction to such social phenomena as homophobia, child rape, and bestiality (www.artonpaper/artists/molete ). In 'Second Offering', Molete focuses on such issues as abortion, HIV/Aids, and xenophobia. He is no moral commissar, condemning what could easily be perceived as the ills of society. Neither is Molete an arbiter of ethical behaviour. He is merely ‘standing in the gap’, as the title of a series of eight new linocuts intimates, between individual action and social responsibility, between good and evil. In the same manner as the legendary iconic epic poem of the struggle between good and evil, 'Raka' by N.P. Van Wyk Louw, Molete gives expression to evil in this allegorical series and shows how it can be overcome by the indomitable human spirit. This series needs to be read in conjunction with a poem by close friend and poet Ntate Sejanamane entitled, ‘Standing in the gap – distortion in our midst’. The recurring words of one of the central motifs in the poem, ‘the shadows in our minds’, are treated in an evocative way by Molete. The works referencing abortion is particularly striking. Molete devised an objective correlative, the wire coat hanger, to contain all the physical pain, mental heartache, and spiritual agony of abortion. He provides a mental map for dealing with such loss in one of the works on exhibition: a silhouetted head in the foreground, pitted against a grid-like ‘map’ of fetus-like ‘co-ordinates’ ('Murder IV'). Ntate Sejanamane has written a second poem, ‘Termination: Confusion or Fact’, to accompany this poignant work. Molete is equally adept with using words as part of his visual expression as can be seen in a series of six etchings. In a wry, ironic way, he spells out the role of the individual in a society defined by issues such as xenophobia, abortion and HIV/Aids. In these etchings graffiti-like scribblings accompany disillusioned, disenchanted figures: “That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. Economic insecurity will leave me” (from 'Emotional Insecurity'), “I will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. I have ceased fighting anything or anyone” (from Justified anger ought to be left to those better qualified to handle it) and “Self-pity is one of the most unhappy and consuming defects that I know. It is a maudlin form of martyrdom which we can ill afford” (from 'Substance Abuse'). In 'Second Offering' Molete provides us with a frank exploration of the role of the artist in contemporary society. Essentially the artist is an accountable agent of change, responding to social stimuli, reacting to things rather than inventing them, or causing them to happen. He is light sensitive paper, rather than searchlight. Molete brings to light what needs to be seen. Dikgwele Paul Molete matriculated in 1990 at Kagiso Senior Secondary School, and holds a Diploma in Fine Arts from Fuba Academy (1993), a Sertificate for Printmaking from Artist Proof Studio, Johannesburg (1997), a Certificate for Art Therapy (Foundation course) from The Art Therapy Centre, Johannesburg (2002) and a Certificate for Design and Teacher’s Art Training from Wits Technikon (2002). He won the Printmaking category of the Brett Kebble Art Awards in 2003 and in the same year was artist-in-residence at the Belfast Studio and the Black Church Studio, Dublin, Ireland. Molete has been a practising artist for over 13 years and has exhibited his work and taken part in workshops both locally and internationally. He has been teaching printmaking at Artist Proof Studio for the last five years. He is an independent artist-printmaker and also collaborates with TPS.

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Click the image for a view of: Standing in the gap I. 2008. linocut. edition 15. 460X320mm
Standing in the gap I. 2008. linocut. edition 15. 460X320mm
Click the image for a view of: Standing in the gap II. 2008. linocut. edition 15. 460X320mm
Standing in the gap II. 2008. linocut. edition 15. 460X320mm
Click the image for a view of: Standing in the gap III. 2008. linocut. edition 15. 460X320mm
Standing in the gap III. 2008. linocut. edition 15. 460X320mm
Click the image for a view of: Standing in the gap IV. 2008. linocut. edition 15. 460X320mm
Standing in the gap IV. 2008. linocut. edition 15. 460X320mm
Click the image for a view of: Standing in the gap V. 2008. linocut. edition 15. 460X320mm
Standing in the gap V. 2008. linocut. edition 15. 460X320mm
Click the image for a view of: Standing in the gap VI. 2008. linocut. edition 15. 460X320mm
Standing in the gap VI. 2008. linocut. edition 15. 460X320mm
Click the image for a view of: Standing in the gap VII. 2008. linocut. edition 15. 460X320mm
Standing in the gap VII. 2008. linocut. edition 15. 460X320mm
Click the image for a view of: Standing in the gap VIII. 2008. linocut. edition 15. 460X320mm
Standing in the gap VIII. 2008. linocut. edition 15. 460X320mm
Click the image for a view of: Murder III. 2008. linocut. edition 5. 1000X700mm
Murder III. 2008. linocut. edition 5. 1000X700mm
Click the image for a view of: Murder IV. 2008. linocut. edition 5. 1000X700mm
Murder IV. 2008. linocut. edition 5. 1000X700mm
Posted: 6/16/2008 (9:44:23 AM)


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