Five minutes with talented artist Tangerine Water

We caught up with Tangerine Waters, formerly knowns as Yonela Makoba to talk about her recent addition to the prestigious Orms Circle and her work as a budding artist in South Africa. 

Supplied, Tangerine Water

Tangerine Water


Tangerine Water will be displaying a solo exhibition at Orms to showcase her artistic commentary on decolonisation, self-reflection and Fallsim. 

The Orms Circle provides a platform for emerging artists to learn from a panel of esteemed mentors and experts in the industry. It also creates a space for South African artists to showcase their work.

Born and raised in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape, Tangerine Waters had an interesting start to her career, having graduated with a BSc in Environmental and Geographical sciences at UCT and then moving on to explore the world of visual art, movement and photography. 

Orms will be hosting a showcase of Tangerine Water's work in an exhibit titled 'Tangerine's World', the becoming of Tangerine'. It is a solo exhibition of her latest work which also aims to contribute to a conversation around decolonisation and Fallism. 

Tangerine Water's exhibition at Orms will be open from 6 - 22 February 2020 and is open to the public. 



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What is the meaning behind your name?

Tangerine Water is imagery and a feeling. Take a moment to think about the reflection of the sun on the ocean as it sets, that warmth, that majesty and that effortless beauty.

Tangerine Water is the pursuit of that state of being.



Why did you move from environmental and geographical studies to art?

In actuality, I have not moved. I believe that science and the arts are and can be the same thing especially disciplines that deal with the human condition. However, I moved from formally practicing the discipline because I understood that I could not follow the route that was mapped out for me by the institution and I honestly had to take a break from university.

At the time when I finished my degree, I was severely depressed and had no tools for self-healing. In following this desire to heal I journeyed into art making and with every project, I work on something within me.  



Have you employed the use of your environmental studies degree with your art and if so, how?

Environmental and geographic science specifically human geography, which I am most interested in, is essentially the study of people, behaviors and space. My work speaks of the person/people/living being, behaving or expressing a particular thing in a space. My work is human geography.  


What inspires you to create art?

Before I would have said I am inspired by my experiences in this thing called life but lately I have simply - yet not so simply- been inspired by life, mine and others. I’m a parent to 10 plants and I am constantly fascinated and in awe of everything they do, how they grow, how they react to the change of season and how growing them has changed me.

Assisting in giving breath to other life forms has taught me so much, it’s as if every stage of their growth is a metaphor for my growth.

Every stage of their growth is honest and enough for the time and that is what I intend for my art, for it to be honest about what it is and what it isn’t.  


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What materials do you use to create pieces of art/ what is your medium?

I am an artist in training so currently I don’t have a medium. I use what I can and what is available to me. I am certain in the near future, I will learn to use other mediums and maybe that too (choosing a medium, if one has to) will be a beautiful journey.  



How has the art of film photography influenced your life?

Film photography is like magic to me. The act of taking the image, it goes ‘somewhere’ in the dark, it gets developed and the image can finally be seen.

I believe that half of it is my eye and the other half is God at work. Film photography has made me trust myself. The fact that I can't view the image I just took and having to trust that I got the image, nonetheless. It has also taught me to be patient.

In the age of instant gratification, I feel as though we as a generation are losing the ability to wait for anything in our lives.

Shooting in film has taught me that some things take time. I’ve learnt that quality is better than quantity. Having 36 frames to work with has made me more intentional with what I have, and it is with this intentionality that has permeated into how I live my life and the relationships I have.

Tangerine Water


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