Although the fascist Apartheid regime has been relegated, permanently to the annals of history, the Township continues to face the hardship burdens of the past. Tshabalala’s works serve as a constant search for the best way to interpret and depict the oppressive and humane realities of staying in a township. With the questions of the substantive yet segregated common citizenship in South Africa among South Africans. Through the themes of the Land Act, Assemblage, Spatial differentiation, Statelessness, Insider- Outsider, trauma, grief, loss, and Slum tourism. Tshabalala’s body of work and research simultaneously are an extension of her experiences and those around her of being in a township and serves as a response to the numerous grieving, trauma, and loss experiences, and the ongoing nature of that poverty-stricken South African community. Conveying an understanding and knowledge of another person’s pain from either an insider or an outsider’s perspective with the goal of gaining the right to respond to or serve as a secondary witness to the political and social context of the historical trauma.
Her mixed media entails sculpted structures made from wood, photography, painting, printmaking and video installations. She looks at the transition of the township from the Apartheid era till today, depicting the challenging social realism of a life of poverty through a diverse array of medias. By mostly using found materials to print on and add onto her sculptures. As part of her practice the materials used are those, she has access to and are easily found.
Bird’s Eye Survey- Insider Outsider
The Re-imagined Landscape