Katlego Phetlhe

Artist Catalogue

Virtual Exhibition


In the past two years of this pandemic, with less time spent away from and distracted from myself and my body I became aware of the processes and performances I would practise to merely exist safely and relatively happy in our society. Through this work I am processing the sudden attention and awareness I have of myself that has not come out of a need to protect or defend myself as most of my habitual ways of being would; but from having time and space to choose myself as my first responsibility.

My long-exposure photographs are the product of grappling with my own existence historically, as a dream or wish, as an idea, a plan, a manifestation through the people who have collectively birthed me. These prints are the record of performances that ask for periods of silence, concentration, physical stillness, timing, counting and tight planning. In between each exposure, I change clothing and props in the dark, quietly, to not wake the sleeping before illuminating the space again as I take the place of another imagined figure.

Both my video and photographic work are an archive exploring self-theology and strategies for self-care via my imagination which are expressed through visual media. Through recordings of patience and presence, I am giving time and attention to myself as an expression of self-love. The work is motivated and explored through themes of re-sensitising myself to my body and my time in efforts to re-connect with feelings of self-compassion and embodiment. I am also exploring my agency in matters of everyday liberation and self-determination.

Before this undertaking, it was difficult to understand and place myself within the greater Black joy and liberation project without understanding how it must unfold in my own life. By performing my multiple self-hood via personal and historic references, I am materialising my imagination and affirming my intrinsic worth in the present.