Growing up in a country that is as diverse in culture and collective identity as South Africa has made me an artist who is deeply curious about the lives of others. The intricacies of their lives, the things that make them just like me and the things that make them different from me. It has also made me curious about who I am as an individual, about the specific set of experiences and memories that inform who I am and the intricacies of my mind and heart. This curiosity and exposure to so many different – but similar – types of people is the foundation of how I approach my art. I try to create work that conveys the mundane as it is lived out by those deemed other, deviant, different. Almost as if to say, there are through-lines that connect us all. How we love, and connect, and share softness is the same everywhere, even if who we are is not entirely conventional.
There is another aspect of being South African and gender-expansive (my favoured term to describe my transgender identity) that informs my work, that is more sinister than the first. South Africa has one of the most accommodating constitutions for people who are queer and/or trans, and yet there also exists unending persecution and brutality meted out against us. My work models the possibility of us existing in a society in which it is not only safe for us to be Black, trans and queer, but also beautiful and reverent.