Lebohang Kganye and the Pied Piper

We caught up with Lebohang Kganye – a Joburg based photographer and visual artist who keeps stumbling onto our radar. You’ll probably remember her solo exhibition Ke Lefa Laka, which was also launched in Scotland, but there is far more to this beautiful face…

In two sentences, who is Lebohang?
I am an artist who uses the body and its visual representation, the real and the fictional, as two sites through which to develop personal and communal narratives. My work is often conceived as self-portraits.

Tell us about your art and what’s coming next:
My work creates a space where the past and the present converge to create alternative versions of history and memory, often exposing the complexities of memory, both personal and collectively. For my next work, I am merging photography, stop-frame animation and sculpture to create tensions and overlaps.

Left: Moketeng wa letsatsi la tswalo la ho qala la moradi waka II, 2013 Right: Setupung sa kwana hae II, 2013

The most exciting thing about African design is…
Colour, it creates a specific mood and because it is emotive. Design which incorporates the use of hues from Africa which we associate with the landscape, cityscape, textiles and art is exciting.

We are looking at bedroom décor; what to you are the trending bedroom essentials?
A reading chair, long lamps, white linen and a lap-tab (those new laptop tables for the bed and couch).

Lebohang’s ideal bedroom decor.

What trends are shaping the forefront of African expression?
There’s growing interest from the West in art from Africa. Western museums are presenting more and more work by contemporary artists from Africa or the African Diaspora. At the same time curators are debating ways in which they should present ‘African art’, struggling with questions such as: how to address race politics in a way that doesn’t reinstate people’s differences and reproduce prejudice, how to avoid colonial mindsets that persist in art and art institutions, and how do you feel about African exhibitions in Western institutions?

The Alarm

Who are your creative icons that we should be following?
Santu Mofokeng, Kara Walker, Mary Sibande, Ayana JacksonKemang Wa Lehulere and Lawrence Lemaoana who are all visual artists whose work is extremely potent.

What (products, brands etc) got you through winter?
Maxwell’s music, white wine and cheese, a collection of art catalogues and the elections.

All-time favourite book and current read?
One of my all-time favourite books has to be I know why the caged bird sings by Maya Angelou, I am currently reading Talking Back by bell hooks.

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The Africa Issue is a celebration of the future of design in Africa and its potential to drive change. We explore the concept of ‘Africaness’, what this means for our aesthetic. We also  dream big with bedroom inspiration and take you on a tour of homes that truly embrace the spirit of the continent. Pick up your copy today and tell us what you think on Twitter @Elle_Deco using #AfricaIssue