The artist on a favourite medium, what inspires her + creating wearable art with adidas
Words: Leila Petersen| Images: Supplied
Part of an emerging group of artists who are breaking barriers and finding their way into the country's art scene with their game-changing visual pieces , Lesego Seoketsa is definitely one to watch. Working in photography, collage, painting and garment construction, Seoketsa’s work is a reflection and exploration of the experience of women of colour. Here, the multidisciplinary artist shares where she draws inspiration from, why sustainability in art is the way forward and what the collaboration with adidas has taught her.
As well as being such a dynamic and intelligent artist, you’ve studied fashion at LISOF- (and started your own garment collection called RISE) and have been gifted with a keen eye behind the lens of camera- what would you say is your favourite medium?
Thank you so much! My favourite medium currently is analogue photography, specifically medium format cameras. Film captures colours and tones so well and gives a distinctive feeling. I am exploring this medium and using it to capture my garments and portraits.
How and why did you start creating works of art?
It all started in preschool, I have fond memories of art classes and feeling in alignment with my drawings back then. This feeling has carried on into my adulthood.I enjoy creating because it is always so inventive, it’s all about learning, making mistakes and learning from them. I create simply because it is so fun, and also to communicate my story through artistic expression.
What or from whom do your draw inspiration from?
I draw inspiration from living things around me. I was recently staying at my friends’ home and they have cats. I observed how cats make their own decisions and how much they enjoy their independence, it made me question if cats have souls haha. I enjoy observing my surroundings because they give me inspiration.
Your photography and art questions contemporary issues a young South African black woman has to face. What do you think are the biggest issues that South African women are facing at the moment?
Apart from GBV and patriarchy, I think that women in our country need hope and the belief that they are so much more than the things that happen to them. I want South African women to believe in their power and the beauty of their essence. We are not defeated, and we have nothing to fear. I wish for us to believe in each other and create communities where we can develop sisterhood and spread hope.
What excites you most about this sustainability collaboration with adidas?
The process of customising was definitely exciting. It makes me happy that adidas promotes sustainability and this has pushed me to research on which materials are sustainable to use when creating. I have learned a lot through this process.
Can you take us through your creative process when customising an iconic sneaker like the Stan Smith?
I dyed the shoe laces using beetroot and ground coffee, which was both a fun and experimental process. I painted the shoes with non-toxic and environmentally friendly colours, and added feathers as well as off-cuts of ceramics as decorative details. I had to find sustainable creative alternatives for the customising, as opposed to the norm.
How important is sustainability in fashion, art and the environment to you? And what sustainable practices have you adopted?
It is important because we need to honour the earth, it is our home. The earth gives us so much goodness and life, the least we can do is keep it in good condition by looking after it. I have adopted vegetable dyeing for textiles and I now use more biodegradable fabrics in my art and in fashion. I am still learning about recycled synthetic materials and learning how to not throw off-cuts away. Repurposing and upcycling are new practices I’ve also adopted.
How has the current global context affected your mindset as well your creative output?
I sit and think about how we are collectively going through a difficult time, and as much as this saddens me, it has also given me the chance to find ways to spread hope through my art. I wish to spread a message of hope through my work and to be a hope for someone who feels like they can no longer continue. It makes me happy to see another person believing in the beauty of their existence despite obstacles.
To win you very own customised pair, head to out IG stories to enter.