Photography by Jamal Nxedlana

Ketu Malesa repurposes materials to create an otherworldly yet familiar experience

Ketu Malesa describes himself as a “fine artist interested in the intersection of performance, sculpture, collage and costume design.” Originating from Rustenburg in the North West, Ketu’s work speaks to the creation of a local identity of Johannesburg. “I feel like that’s what my work tries to research and uncover is the true texture of a South African design language and communication.”

Speaking to the work that he’s created he singles out one of his greatest achievements as his collaborative work with adidas South Africa for their Dragon Ball Z campaign. Upcycle. Found objects. A practice built on re-usage. Finding beauty in the mundane.

His creative expression has become rather well known for mask making as can be seen on his ever-popular Instagram feed. Masked figures. Masked with everything and anything the artist is able to repurpose. A raincoat’s hood; even a shower cap. Tin foil becomes a multifaceted material used for 2D works as well as even the construction of clothing. A mind of imagination explodes tapping into a culture that is expressed in a refreshing tone.

The fine artist has recently begun expanding his practice into styling and has worked on styling projects that include MTV Base Gqom Nation Season 2, Major Lazer’s music video “Blow that Smoke” in which masked identity was explored, a music video with Stiff Pap as well as the styling for the Bubblegum Club’s Lunga Ntila cover released earlier this year.

Ketu’s favourite collaborative projects stem from working with his contemporaries on work. I look forward to seeing where the future of this multi-faceted creative will go. Ketu Malesa is one of the spotlighted artists for the Miller Genuine Draft Art and Design series.

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