Joseph Thabang Palframan

Studio Vaartstraat
Periode: 01.02.2023—…

I am cur­rent­ly living and wor­king in Belgium. I have degrees in Fine Art from The Royal Academy of Art Den Haag (2021) and Art History (Arts, Media and Society) from Leiden University (2021). I won the Ron Mandos Best of Graduates award which led to a resi­d­en­cy peri­od with Joep Van Lieshout (20212022). Although I am main­ly wor­king with paint, my prac­ti­ce is fluid and site-spe­ci­fic. So far my work has main­ly been about iden­ti­ty, post- and pre-colo­ni­a­list aes­the­tics and race the­o­ry from the ground up.

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Joseph Thabang Palframan

How can the arts be res­pon­si­ve to the diver­se needs of the com­mu­ni­ty? It’s impor­tant to have a clear under­stan­ding of who com­pri­ses the public” to effec­ti­ve­ly address this question.

I belie­ve in the effi­ci­en­cy of diver­si­ty. It is effi­cient becau­se of the ran­ge of appro­a­ches to pro­blem sol­ving it offers. Being a mix of both African and European, under­stan­ding the com­plex his­to­ry bet­ween England and Botswana, Netherlands and South Africa is not only an inves­ti­ga­ti­on into post-/pre-colo­ni­al the­o­ry but is an impor­tant part of my per­so­nal journey.

As a stu­dent, I often ques­ti­o­ned the effect that mys­ti­fi­ca­ti­on has had on art­his­to­ri­cal nar­ra­ti­ves and dis­cus­sed how art insti­tu­ti­ons func­ti­on as myst-making machi­nes” in my the­sis. Regarding this research, myst’ has beco­me a key com­po­nent of my work. I aim for bru­tal” hone­sty, recog­ni­zing the impor­tan­ce of under­stan­ding how mys­ti­fi­ca­ti­on affects the vie­wer, as well as the dif­fe­ren­ces bet­ween demys­ti­fi­ca­ti­on and decon­struc­ti­on (struc­tu­ra­lism).

Currently, I am focu­sing on pain­ting African arti­facts from both pri­va­te and public col­lec­ti­ons, inclu­ding the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren. I feel the­se arti­facts are in Europe for a rea­son, as if car­rying a mes­sa­ge from the past to help gui­de the dias­po­ra. Currently, I feel like they can help me com­pre­hend alter­na­ti­ve his­to­ries of aesthetics. 

My artis­tic pro­cess invol­ves explo­ring the human touch in our tech­no­lo­gi­cal age through pain­ting from life. As Ashraf Jamal once said, Africa will pro­vi­de the world with a human face”, an idea that ori­gi­na­ted with South African thin­ker Steve Biko and con­ti­nues to inspi­re me.