“The College experience does not make you better or worse, it makes you who you are.
Here is no pretence, here is where your clay is fired.” [Emphasis added]
(David Wylde in Marguerite Poland’s The Boy in You 2008:446)
The above extract was the departure point of the conversation I had with Mr Modisa Motsomi (OA 2008) on Monday 6 June, in the Roger Clark Staff Common Room, in front of an audience of interested art and design students and members of staff.
Mr Motsomi was born in Botswana but attended St Andrew’s College from 2004 to 2008. He then relocated to the Pietermaritzburg campus of the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal and completed a BA in Fine Art (2011) and BA Hons in Fine Art (2012). His professional practice as a multi-media artist began immediately after the conclusion of his studies and he has since made significant progress into the highly competitive South African art world.
Mr Motsomi was with us this week to conduct preliminary research into the commission that College’s Advisory Committee on Icons, Nomenclature and Institutional Culture has proposed to him: to create a ‘public’ sculptural artwork that would ameliorate the problematic iconography of Ivan Mitford-Barberton’s (OA) mural that sits above the entrance to the newly renovated Spencer Chapman block.
Every person who heard and saw Mr Motsomi’s honesty, vulnerability, intelligence and artistic mastery on Monday night left the DB Wylde Leadership Indaba feeling challenged, but also deeply inspired. The questions posed by several students at the end of our conversation were frank, open-minded and heartfelt. As an artist who works predominantly in ceramics (the process of firing clay at extraordinary temperatures), Mr Motsomi was intrigued by DB Wylde’s summation of the College experience and we had to chuckle at the seemingly uncanny prescience of the statement in light of Mr Motsomi’s practice and what he might yet produce for our campus.
Please visit Mr Motsomi’s website to learn more about his work and his progress: https://modisatimmotsomi.wordpress.com