Push & Pull is constituted of selected works from previous exhibitions and new works by the Durban based artist. In this exhibition, Shibase consolidates a range of his thematic interests, predominantly his preoccupation with visually exploring the interrelatedness of themes such as power, masculinity and violence.
Shibase’s work critically engages African patriarchal culture. Ideals of authority, strength and dominance have given rise to a society based on male sexual entitlement and the abuse of women in the private realm, and dictatorial violence and corruption in the public realm.
The medium of paint is at the centre of his visual exploration of the aformentioned themes. Push & Pull, in both instances hints at two aspects. Firstly, the physical process of painting itself, such as layering and de-layering of paint on the surface; and secondly, the contradictory theoretical positions we hold in relation to the above mentioned themes but more specifically – power. The interrogation of how power is perceived is critically explored through his paintings in relation to the contexts of gender, sexuality, race, and politics.
Themba Shibase is an activist, and his bracing, yet harsh critique of the current shaky status quo is bound to make viewers question the premises upon which South African identity and politics are based. His imagery communicates immediately and effectively.
Shibase seeks to engage “the underlying issues behind the slow pace of development on this continent”, where advance is hindered by a system that extends to business, commerce and domestic life.