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Local photographer takes his story to Jo’burg gallery

MOMPATI TLHANKANE
Using photography to tell a story is something Letso acquired during his practice PIC: LETSO LEIPEGO
A local fine art photographer Letso Leipego will host an exhibition called Tell my story at the Guns & Rain Gallery in Parkhurst Johannesburg on August 22, 2018.

Leipego told Arts & Culture that the exhibition is going to focus on different stories. “I will be featuring the new project called Chasing my past, which talks about my early childhood life in the village,” he said.

He said the project focuses on his experience and religious journey. He said he was fortunate to get this opportunity to showcase his work outside the country.

“I met someone who appreciated my work and requested to represent me so that the world can know about my art,” he recalled. He said they had even sold artwork in Africa and Europe.

Leipego said after moving from the village to the city, he discovered a lot of aspects and ended forgetting the village culture.

“Upon my return I found that a lot had changed at the village and started having flashback memories of my childhood. One thing that stood out was the cleansing ritual I underwent after my grandmother passed,” he said.

He said with the works he has put out for the exhibition, he wanted to bring out the culture aspect of it and give identity to people. 

He said people have adapted to modernisation and in the process abandoned their African roots. Leipego said the Chasing my dreams project has given him freedom. He also said using photographs to tell a story is something he acquired during his practice.  “I have six years now doing photography and I have researched a lot when it comes to telling stories using photography. I don’t want the message to be too direct, I want someone to look at the image

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and pay more attention to elements and background to interpret the story,” he said.

Leipego said photography to him is more of a talent because he studied art at a young age and then went on to study advertising at Limkokwing University.  Leipego who also does corporate gigs highlighted that promoting culture in his photography is working at the moment and still believes it will go far.

“I have identified a gap. We have unique undocumented stories about culture and we have been afraid to ask about them,” he said.

The talented photographer said his grandfather inspired the project because the latter loves rural life.

“I started taking pictures of him and posted few on Facebook and I got a positive response. That is when I realised that there is gap and history is not documented.” Leipego has explained why he sought to capture these particular moments to preserve heritage and carve a legacy.

“People are impressed about the stories that I tell especially that they are African stories.

Our culture is more unique and foreigners love that,” he said.  In fact, Leipego revealed that he learns a lot from the stories that he does. The photographer who also travels a lot to capture his stories says as a fine art photographer he had participated in President’s Day competitions and Thapong Artist of the Year Awards.

For the artist, contemporary art is difficult especially in Botswana when people don’t understand art that much. “I am more of a person who is trying to send a message about our culture and every story,” he said.



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