Inkjet print on Epson Ultrasmooth
Mohau Modisakeng was born in Soweto in 1986, and currently lives and works between Johannesburg and Cape Town. Modisakeng’s evocative practice explores the black body as a marker of collective memory, intertwined with the violent legacies of South Africa’s troubled past and the resulting deep divides of the post-apartheid present. His multifaceted work stretches across a number of disciplines, including photography, sculpture, installation, performance, and video.
Translated as ‘divination bones’, Mohau Modisakeng’s Ditaola works form a series of large-scale photographs that depict the artist himself against a dark emerald backdrop. Like an apparition or a vision from a dream, the works are richly symbolic and allegorical, asking the viewer to consider the future that is being created by the choices of the present. Clad in an isidwaba (a pleated leather skirt traditionally worn by married Zulu women), Modisakeng’s figure in Ditaola V posits a precarious future that could be defined either by the flintlock rifle resting on his shoulders or the powdered white dove perched on top of the barrel.