The latest project by multidisciplinary artist and designer Atang Tshikare sees him collaborating with weavers in Lesotho to revive an old tradition. Since creating fantastical animals for Design Miami 2016, he’s established himself as one of the freshest creative voices on the African continent, and shows no signs of slowing down, either.
Called Oa Mpona, which means ‘Do you see me?’ in Sesotho, the new, ongoing body of work is a response to societies’ failure to recognise women. By working with women weavers in his wife’s hometown, he brings them into the spotlight, while simultaneously putting a contemporary twist on traditional basket-weaving methods. The woven works speak to African mythology and storytelling, and many have the appearance of mythical creatures.
Like his work with Okha, Tshikare plans for Oa Mpona to be a trilogy, and after three years, he intends to bring the entire narrative together in the form of an African storybook.
A long-term aim of his is to keep pushing local design to the next level. ‘It’s good to be able to go and see what people are doing in the most rural settings – if you can learn the old traditions of doing stuff, then we can actually preserve them as well, and we’ll be taking something that is established and putting a new twist to it,’ the artist told Design Indaba.
Find works from Oa Mpona at Zabalazaa Design Studio in the Woodstock Foundry in Cape Town. Follow Tshikare on Instagram to keep up with his latest projects.