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Excellent Katlego Squire

Excellent Katlego Squire

I am based in South Africa, Northern Cape Kimberley. My work depicts the concerns around urban life. In Kimberley where young men die every week from knife wounds. The fast life is in contrast to the simple life. My work shows what has been normalised in the Kimberley: killings, hardship, struggle, and pain. Just highlighting the life around, me, my life journey, and just to tell everything I can't really say. My work shows landscapes, portraits, and figurative drawings. Faces usually show the emotions and moods of the person. Portraits I do are to express that while telling a story. My work is influenced by what I see and the different types of people and places I come across. I process, plan, sketch, and then start the final piece using accurate measurements. I only use colours to create a sense of feel and have darker shades on my drawings to create some sense of depth, illusion and contrast. Mediums: pen, pencils, pastels, charcoal. 

Self-portrait - seeing oneself

Death is something I would say we all think about, especially when you are young—the fear of death, the unknown of where your spirit goes after death.

My portrait is inspired by my mom. She is a church woman and, I would say, a very spiritual figure in my life. I am not spiritual, but I always say, "I know my mom is always praying for me". She fights physical and spiritual battles.I stand behind her not because I cannot protect myself but because she always has. The uniform she is wearing is a church cloth, representing prayer and the spiritual world.

The figure behind her is me, the scared little boy I am inside. With the uncertainty of life where in Kimberley life goes, stab deaths are so many. The person who is coming could be anyone because you never know who is trying to hurt you. It could be a stranger or someone you know. That is the life we live now. Things have changed, and people kill each other over small things that do not even matter.

In this dark world, the only light you may have can be your mother. The trees symbolise the jungle that this life is. And in the jungle, anything is possible.

Excellent Katlego Squire self portrait© Excellent Katlego Squire

Homage to the Departed – working with the Museum collections

The work I have done depicts expressionism with surrealism. With all the strong lines and the exaggerated long arms with sharp fingers the art symbolises the Karoo or Kalahari life.

The early life in the Northern Cape is where the Khoi people live. The woman is mixed with a blue crane and eating with her hands. There was no fancy cutlery, but they had things to hunt with. Like the arrows and sharp objects. The laying figure is an animal killed by hunting as it was done back then, with plants growing behind. The symbol of after death, there is still life. The woman's body is also something I saw of a "Naron woman near Xangas, Kalahari, 1936" at the McGregor Museum, as the Khoi people have deep backs with their behinds out. So I just depicted it with a pot just to show the shape but did not draw it here as people back then saw them. It was a little bit of respect to the history and the dead.

Next to the women, there are drawings on rocks of their stories, the connection with her and her history. The rocks tell the stories of what happened in the spiritual world. Just as I have added a skeleton hand for death. The plant I have visualised can be the silver Karoo, which grows in harsh and dry places.

Excellent Katlego Squire artwork on display.

Shadows of the Memory - monochrome past at Duggan Cronin Gallery

“Land of the dead”

This art was inspired by the Human head 2013/Zephyr, a combination of modern medical imaging techniques to reveal the inside of a living head.

The scan used is called an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging technology. This image shows the skull and the neck bones made from two-dimensional cross-section. The brain is too soft to show up on an X-ray. I drew a combination of dead bodies inside the living head to express the thoughts of our dead relatives. We still think about them even though they have left this world. And the horizontal line represents peace and calm but also the repetition that happens with death - the only thing that is permanent in life.

On the left side is an aloe vera used for manufacture commercial products. It's mostly used for topical medications such as burns, wounds, frostbites, rashes cold sores. Traditionally it is used for skin treatment medicine. It also survives in areas with low natural rainfall. Like the aloe we grow in Kimberley a place where things do not look good for everyone. Some would call it a dying city. But it has its good sides too because we are surviving and still making the best out of what we have.

Excellent Katlego Squire© Excellent Katlego Squire

Sketch work by Excellent  Katlego Squire.

Tracing the Past - Wildebeest Kuil Rock Art Centre

“The four horsemen”

The Bible says that when all ends, there will be four horsemen. All of them, save for death, are beings depicted with human appearance. The four horsemen symbolise famine, war, death, and pestilence. One of the horsemen carries a bow.

The connection is the four men getting ready to eat or go hunting. The Khoi San people did not believe in the Bible. They had more spiritual/traditional. They changed when civilisation came, and then they took the Bible, too. The blue symbolises peace, as the sky is free and clear. This is similar to how the Khoi had to move from Namibia as refugees after the war and relocate to South Africa.

I used the "Bosjemans frying locusts" aquatint by Samuel Daniels as a reference from 1805. In Botswana, they were forced to relocate by denying them water and the right to hunt, which was their primary food source. In the Herero and Namaqua genocide, about 10,000 Nama, a Khoekhoe group and San people were killed in an extermination campaign by the German Colonial Empire between 1904 and 1908.

The Four Horseman - artwork by Excellent Katlego Squire© Excellent Katlego Squire