Comrades III

  • 2015
  • Meleko Mokgosi
  • Oil on canvas, bleach on portrait linen
  • 244 x 244 cm

Mokgosi depicts these anonymous figures as they make history, and clearly demonstrates their sense of belonging to a community. They are comrades, “a word that has always referred to egalitarianism and has become a form of descriptive address that presumably goes beyond gender, race, ethnicity and class.” Rendered in negative drawing and written in Setswana – a language spoken in South Africa and Botswana and imposed by colonists in the 19<sup>th</sup> century – a text accompanies the painting. According to the artist’s wishes, the work remains inaccessible to most viewers: a story for some, abstraction for others.

© Meleko Mokgosi. Photo © Fondation Louis Vuitton / Marc Domage


Meleko Mokgosi

Meleko Mokgosi studied at the Slade School of Art in London before settling in the United States, and still maintains close ties with his native country.

His interest lies particularly in history painting. He uses this genre, through which European nations told their myths and conquests, to engage with the history of southern African countries. “You have to know the history of painting, but you also have to know how to negate it,” he says.

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