On November 22, 2021, Atang Tshikare visited the Harvard Center for African Studies and interviewed with Sarah Clunis, Director of Academic Partnerships at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology.
Atang Tshikare is a Cape Town based, self-taught multidisciplinary artist. Born in Bloemfontein in 1980, he was influenced from a young age by the visual storytelling and graphic style of his father, an anti-Apartheid activist and illustrator for various pan-African publications and art magazines.
Over the last twenty years, Atang’s practice has evolved from street art and drawings to limited edition collectible design, intersecting narrative-laden sculptural furniture and functional art. Tshikare expresses his distinct visionary African identity through a unique visual language. His work to date has sprung from the dynamic negotiations between an urban dialogue emerging in contemporary art and design consciousness across the globe.
Tshikare’s intuitive sense of primal matter is rooted in his Tswana heritage and Southern African cultural knowledge. His experimental approach to creating work includes various mediums, such as bronze, ceramics, stone, and wood. Atang’s work takes inspiration from his fascination with zoomorphic shapes, biomorphic forms, vernacular architecture, and local landscapes. Each form strikes up a dialogue between natural and man-made materials that are organic and minimalistic, inviting tactile curiosity.
Founding Zabalazaa Designs in 2010, Atang has collaborated with local artists and worked on commissions for companies such as Chimurenga Magazine, Adidas Originals, BMW, MTV Base, Belvedere Vodka and Nandos, to name a few. He is a recipient of the Future Found Award by Southern Guild Design Foundation in 2014 and the M & G Top 200 Young South Africans in 2015. He was a judge for the Elle Decór Solve Competition (2015), the Dezeen Awards (2019) judge as well as a nominator for the British Design Museum Beazley Awards (2019).
As he casts his nets towards the global horizon, Atang is deepening his understanding of African cultures and heritage through his work. He has been widely exhibited in South Africa and internationally.
Interviews will be live on this page: https://africa.harvard.edu/african-arts-initiative