Modisa Tim Motsomi

Botswana

Residency: Oranim Academic College

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Terra Incognita, Terra Nullius, Terra Pericolosa

Modisa Motsomi, who hails from Botswana, and was in residence at Oranim College, Kiryat Tivon, produced a large mixed media sculpture and wall intervention, ‘Terra-Incognita, Terra-Nullius, Terra-Pericolosa’.[1]  The work focuses on multi-layered meanings of body, land, memory and mapping. The artist has created a site-specific response to diasporic flows, control and statehood, and the invisibility of migrants. Motsomi ‘mines’ various contested dualities, including place and space, the ‘native’ and the ‘other’, the whole and the partial. His project embodies metanarratives of identity in relation to geographic contextualisation.

The installation incorporates ‘tapet’, a local adhesive vinyl product for covering walls and shelves. Motsomi uses this material as a trompe l’oeil covering for his plinth and on the wall, where it maps space, creating and defining a patchwork of layered terrains. This popular material evokes simulated marble, and serves as a metaphor for the artifice of luxury and the symbolic act of dominion over vast resources.

The metaphor of artifice is also evoked in the glazing of the figurative sculptural form that connotes metallic, bronze-like qualities. The use of the plinth and the stacked and layered qualities of the sculpture also evoke histories of conquest and notions of trophies. Topographical mapping practices are incorporated into the vinyl and onto the ceramic forms. This highlights the visible and invisible negotiations inherent in the map-making process, and imaginatively play with the notion of defining, naming and claiming land and assumptions of sovereignty.

[1] These Latin terms originate in colonial mapping practices, and refer to unknown, unoccupied and dangerous territory.

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