WHERE DO WE GO WHEN WE ESCAPE?
Tiisetso Doubatla (born. 2001) is a South African multi-disciplinary surrealist who is currently based in Johannesburg.
Doubatla’s exploration lies in the creative aspects of the human psyche like imagination and perceptual abilities, inspired by her grandmother’s outlook on life. Her grandmother, despite enduring harsh conditions in a poverty-stricken location of Limpopo, South Africa, during the apartheid era, has seldom dwelled on the hardships endured, opting instead to view her struggles through a lens devoid of pain and anger. Her grandmother through intentional practice honed the ability to selectively observe her reality and to purposefully engage with it from unconventional observational angles. Demonstrating her resilience that comes from the authority over her observation, perception, attention, imagination, and knowledge.
Incorporating her grandmother’s practice, Doubatla applies a similar approach to shift her perspective of the township she grew up in. By doing so, she transcends the persisting feelings of hopelessness, subliminal fear, and uncertainty of the future caused by her environment. To accomplish this, she utilises memories of moments spent with her grandmother in the township and other childhood recollections merged with thoughts, emotions, desires, reality, and elements of imagination. She transforms these memories into symbolic elements, often cloaking their deeper meanings in a veneer of fantasy, emphasising the profound role of perception. These symbols serve as the building blocks for her immersive, fantasy-like world that pushes the boundaries of reality-perception through fantasy.
Her exploration asks the question, “Where do we go when we escape?” She invites viewers to consider what their “reality” might look like beyond conventional perception, both inwardly and externally. She delves into the process of imagining beyond conscious thought contemplating as deep as the subconscious, creating vivid imagined visual depictions of an uncharted dream-like world. Fabricating a place she has never been to.
Her creative process involves being consciously imaginative to represent the unawake state and fantasy-like worlds, using various mediums like painting, installation, and moving pictures. With soft pastel and rainbow colours, she merges ethereal imagery, including galactic elements, marine life, nature scenes, shapes, the troposphere, and figuration, exemplifying the power of perceiving the world through slanted angles, the interplay between truth and fiction, and the ins and in-betweens of conscious and unconscious.