Thebe Phetogo (b. 1993 in Serowe, Botswana) is a painter based in Gaborone, Botswana. He earned a Postgraduate Diploma in Fine Art in 2017 and a Masters in Fine Art in 2019, both from the University of Cape Town. He has exhibited widely in Botswana, South Africa and beyond in venues such as the Botswana National Gallery, MoCA Westport and the Qindao Art Museum. Residencies include the Arthouse Foundation residency in Lagos, Nigeria, and Art Connection Africa residency at the Bag Factory in Johannesburg, South Africa. Phetogo was a 2019 Cassirer Welz Award finalist and a 2020 Emerging Painting Invitational Finalist. He is a founding member of The Botswana Pavilion artist collective.
Phetogo states about his work: "In my work, the sphere of painting and its vast history and conventions act as a stand-in for history and the world at-large. From that specific vantage, I use painting to locate and build a space for myself within the gaps – both known and perceived – of this history as a subject and participant of the contemporary moment, specifically from the lens of my positionality as a Motswana working within and outside of home."
"In my work I endeavor to make the specific 'world-version' I carry – informed by the flotsam and jetsam of everyday life, available data, personal frames of reference, the social and the cultural – visible through the incorporation of transmedia storytelling tools such as chroma key green screens and the visual language of comics; visualization schemes such as maps; as well as historically charged systems of representation into the practice of painting. These tools allow me to paint a living document, a world in the process of its own making. These visual schemes also eschew any claim of finality in any narratives depicted, instead leaving the proverbial door open for the viewer."
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