CITYLIFE/ARTS profiles Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner 2022 for visual art Lady Skollie

Lady Skollie was last night honoured alongside Koleka Putuma (Poetry). Theatre Duo – Billy Langa and Mahlatsi Mokgonyana (Theatre), Sylvester Thamsanqa (Thami) Majela (Dance), Msaki (Music)  and  Linda Sikhakane (Jazz) at a Sandton venue.

 By Edward Tsumele, CITYLIFE/ARTS Editor

You can call her whatever you want: bold, rude, talkative, and in-your face.  Even describe her in stronger words that you can think of. Some of them will describe her perfectly. But some will miss the complexity of this artist called Lady Skollie.

I still remember the moment when I first met her by chance, really at the Bag Factory in Fordsburg in Johannesburg. That is like 10 years or so. I cannot recall precisely.  It was quite a while when she still had a studio at the Bag Factory.  And I remember she mentioned that she just had a show or was going to have a show with a London based gallery.

Some of the memories of that encounter are fading away, and believe you me, it must have something to do with old age on my part. But there is still something that caught my attention about her. She appeared like someone who was bold, confident and knew what she wanted in life.  Walking, rather sauntering into the Bag Factory, with a swagger, and perhaps let us call it over confidence. Or those who are cynical would prefer to call the manner of walking she did attitude. I could not help but ask myself the question who she was.

Lady Skollie

“Ï’m Lady Skollie,”she said. “Who? What?” I asked rather not quite sure “Which one is this one?.” Just to borrow a quote from a popular but controversial podcast, loved and followed by the youth in this country.

It is then that I got to know about Lady Skollie, and have since been to a couple of her exhibitions, especially since she joined Everard Read Gallery in Rosebank. Just like her bold attitude in person, she uses bold colours to communicate issues of identity from a personal perspective, coming from Cape Town, and in terms of apartheid classification called Coloured. 

Some regard this classification offensive within and without that community.  But as far as Lady Skollie’s art practice and how she frames her identity, she is not shy to embrace her heritage and what society has decided to call people who look like her. In fact at face value, she seems to flaunt it in her art practice. In fact to those that have attended the walkabouts of her exhibitions, they have heard her say even ruder words about how she sees herself in the complex area of identity in this country. Especially when it comes to people with her background.

Well, like I said earlier, Lady Skollie is bold, and perhapseven more bold than some of us ordinary souls to call a spade a spade. Her talks are never boring. They are animated and raucous. I am not kidding about this.

However I must point out that the use of colours in her art practice, makes her not just a complex human being in tackling issues of identity, but she does it so well that at times, you will ignore the risk inherent in using bold colours in art, and simply see beautiful art works. But that is what works for Lady Skollie. She is subversive.

If you do not focus long enough on her works especially doing a lot of thinking, until you decode a deeper meaning of the complex issue of identity in a country like South Africa with a complicated racial history, and how she is struggling with that, and trying to find a comfortable space for herself in the racial milieu of South Africa, you risk being simplistic. That way you will see beautiful bold paintings by an artist who simply likes using bold colours, and in the process. That way you will  risk being deductive.

In other words Lady Skollie, in her art practice reflects the complexity around her identity, and how she personally navigates that terrain.

It is therefore not a surprise that last, November 29, Lady Skollie was award the prestigious Standard Bank Young Artist Award at a Sandton venue alongside other young creative minds.

CITYLIFE/ARTS in this edition presents Standard Bank Young Artists 2022

.Lady Skollie (Visual Arts) born Laura Windvogel-Molifi

.Koleka Putuma (Poetry)

,Theatre Duo – Billy Langa and Mahlatsi Mokgonyana (Theatre)

.Sylvester Thamsanqa (Thami) Majela (Dance)

.Msaki (Music)

.Linda Sikhakane (Jazz)

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