Atang Tshikare, from Bloemfontein in South Africa, is a self-taught artist who works in various media creating sculpture. His work is being show by Southern Guild at Design Miami 2016.
His pieces have an unusual wrinkle; their origins are on the artists own stories. Tshikare creates a narrative and then, literally, gives it form. It wasn’t always in this order according to the artist.
“The sculptures informed the story at first but after the third piece the roles switched a bit because they had to work hand in hand. So now I have a story written with some missing details and that’s where the sculptures come in and overtake the story and the mix just goes back in a fluid mix between what part is stronger. It’s like a relationship with two strong individuals where each takes precedence according to their strengths.” says Tshikare.
His new works are in bronze but that is not the only medium he has used.
“I’ve worked in multiple media – from wood, clay, plastic, paper and so on, but I’ve always wanted something that lasted permanently and had great value so I wanted to try bronze. When I did I discovered the idea I had could be manipulated much quicker and there was less stress about the stability,” he says. “Unlike clay there was no need to worry about the material getting damaged in the kiln and all the problems most of the materials have. So, a combination of strong, steady and treasured values made bronze more appealing.”
The stories are complex and whichever direction the influence moves, from story to sculpture to story or story to sculpture, there is a complexity to the interaction.
“I use my tacit knowledge to work between the different focuses and It’s like riding a bicycle and explaining a sum at the same time whilst you are thinking of the fastest route to your home. When you have a controlled multiple personality you feel laid back and it just happens.” he says.
“Being an artist is like learning the words to your favorite rapper’s song till you know the lyrics and then one day you’re making your own album. You practice what you’re natural at and attract it in multiple streams." he says.
Thus, it’s not something that you decide to become, you just reveal it to yourself.
“I am self-taught like my dad is and it’s the best route because it’s genetic and the skills are indelible, other paths to this career are harder and getting taught can increase your technical skill but deep inside it’s a want that you can’t turn off.” says Tshikare.
His new work is meant, in some way, to attract you, to draw n to it and not just in proximity.
"My new work is a shadow that you will tail because you’re trying to catch up with the enigma. I will only say that people can understand the perspective I’ve
displayed because I’ve taken a piece of narrative and created a journey per my vision. I know it’s a comprehensive answer but because I am a universal mammal that wants to give a forward-thinking view of Africa I can only give this answer so people can come in for a closer look," he says. "The truth behind my art is a more elaborate labyrinth with some mystical manifestations that the West refers to as 'Law of Attraction'. So over the months I will keep people attracted to the lighter side of the work by making it accessible as sculptures with a design feature like lights, seating and so forth.“
His expectations for Miami include raising awareness about the possibilities available from Africa (as well as answering guestions about the same.) There are other hopes besides: “A mix of imaginative and curious reactions that will release mass abundance from receptacles to attract more creatures from Atang.”