The Bag Factory presents Mphe Mphe ya Lapisa, a solo exhibition of new work by Levy Pooe, winner of the prestigious 2020 Cassirer Welz Award presented by the Bag Factory in partnership with Strauss Education.
This body of work is an extension of Pooe’s ongoing themes that revolve around his relationship with the urban space, and representation of black figures engaged in contemplative activities and daily rituals.
Mphe Mphe ya Lapisa, motho o kgona ke sagagwe is a seTswana idiom, which can be translated to: “The constant act of asking is tiring. It is better to have your own.” Mphe Mphe Ya Lapisa emerges from the universal experience of how we see ways of asking and how we become victims to this state of being. This theme poses questions such as but not limited to: What do we ask for? When do we ask? Who do we ask? From which spaces do we ask?
Taking the artist’s relationship with the city of Johannesburg as its source of inspiration, the acrylic paintings and charcoal drawings presented interpret the theme in various ways. The subtle and mellow work Praying for Employment interrogates the different situations that the youth in Johannesburg find themselves in and the ways in which they navigate this state of being. Kopa ungfake VIP is directly rendered from this theme. Busking in the city takes the viewer on a walk through the city, recognizing the street musicians, the different aspects they add to the city, and how they also ask to be heard
Viewers will also have the opportunity to meet the artist and discuss the exhibition further at an artist-led walkabout on 20 February 2021, 11am at the Bag Factory.
This exhibition was made possible with support from Strauss&Co.
Levy Pooe (b. 1994) is a seTswana speaking South African visual artist born in Rustenburg during the country’s transition to democracy. He is currently based in Johannesburg. Working in a range of mediums from painting, charcoal, collage as well as photography, Pooe is passionate about telling stories and creating narratives that speak to the urban black experience. He mostly works from his home studio, produces murals, and creates live interpretations of musical performances. Pooe studied a BAFA at University of the Witwatersrand (incomplete) and attended the Market Photo Workshop.