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INTROSPECTION LIFE'S GEOLOGY (article first published : 2002-08-20)

Opening at the BAT Centre’s Democratic Gallery on September 11 at 18h00 to run until September 30 is an exhibition titled Introspection Life's Geology. An exhibition of ceramics by Mathiba Molefe, it looks at the meaning of “Introspection” as an analysis of one’s inner self and “geology” as a study of the earth including the composition structure and the origin of its rock.

Born in 1974 in Harrismith, Mathiba Molefe began her artistic career while she was in standard three and carried this through until she finished her matriculation at Treverton College in the Natal Midlands.

While studying at Vaal Triangle Technikon, she developed a passion for design and an interest in pottery. In 1996, she enrolled for a fulltime ceramics course under the guidance of Rita Tasker. Through her guidance as well as the expertise of other lectures such as Rion Munting and Eunice Botes, she soon developed an individual style that is still in a process of development.

In 1998, she completed her Ceramic Design Diploma at Vaal Triangle Technikon. After graduating, she worked from home for a period of three years where she was able to perfect her skills and style. Through her work, she was able to supplement her income by selling curio products at the Basotho Cultural Village.

To further advance herself in the field of art, she needed to interact with other professional artists and fortuitously was offered an opportunity to work as an artist in residency at the Bat Centre Studios. Here she met Clive Sithole and Simphiwe Belle who both have made a name for themselves through ceramic works and their designs and styles were a major influence on her work. Mathiba's approach to pot-making has now changed from wheel throwing to coiling, burnishing and smoke firing.

"My work is heavily influenced by aspects of African cultures and Pueblo Pottery. The geometric shapes remain a dominant feature in my work which enhances my passion for design," she says. "My greatest teacher has been my great grandmother. During the time that I spend with her she continues to teach me new techniques. It is encouraging to know that I am learning the very technique that her mother taught her, as this knowledge will be passed on from one generation to another."




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