Thabo Seshoka :: Curatorial Statement

Urban Soundscapes – Crafting Spaces of Belonging

A solo exhibition by Kagiso “Pat” Mautloa

Curated by Thabo Seshoka

Ordinary life in urban spaces is accompanied by the sounds of the metropolis; a plethora of synchronised melodies that emanate from the shadowy figures that fuel the hustle and bustle of the city; an omnipotent machine, that in the words of Silvana Barbali is “characterised by a cacophony of sounds, voices, structures, spaces, smells, and sights that weave [the] complex fabric”[1].

Urban spaces, arguably, where a multitude of people reside and where none originate from[2], are constantly evolving, taking on multiple forms – imagined temporal worlds that are engulfed by the socio-political, and consumed by the notion of power and authority over others[3].

It is within the confines of the city, a diverse and dynamic urban space, that battle is waged amongst these shadowy figures. Fuelled by the desire to question belonging, and operating within a regulated structure, maintained, and guarded by ‘official’ and ‘un-official’ custodians, who have or continue to benefit from the old ways of order[4]. They are reluctant to relinquish their control of the city’s machinery; religiously protecting it, using misconceived truths and realities as challenges to opposing views.

Through a series of works, this exhibition, documents the beats and rhythms of these imagined worlds and the figures that reside within them. The viewer is serenaded through a well composed symphony of urban life.

[1] Barbali, S. 2009. Coping with Xenophobia: Senegalese Migrants in Port Elizabeth. MA Thesis. Grahamstown: Rhodes University.

[2] Makhubu, N. 2008. “The “other” Africans: re-examining representations of sexuality in the work of Nicholas Hlobo and Zanele Muholi”. MA Thesis. Grahamstown: Rhodes University.

[3] Vandeyar, S. 2013. “Youthscapes: the politics of belonging for ‘Makwerekwere’ youth in South African schools” Citizenship Studies. 17 (4): 447 – 463.

Appadurai, A. 1996. Modernity at large: cultural dimensions of globalisation. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

[4] Seshoka. T. 2017. Intimate Strangers – Encountering the Foreign in Urban Spaces. Port Elizabeth. Nelson Mandela University.