His ceramics are complex creations and just by gazing at them one would realise that the press, the touch, the caress, the shaping and the glazing are something out of the ordinary.
Emmanuel Senamolena, the multi award winning ceramist’s work currently exhibited at Thapong Visual Arts Centre is great breath of fresh air and is somewhat an antidote to the frantic life. The crafts at the gallery teach us how to look at African art especially that it brings in the concept of the dung beetle.
Dung beetles are creatures that use the manure, or dung, from other animals in some unique ways by forming manure into a ball using their scooperlike head and paddle-shaped antennae.
Senamolela who is exhibiting alongside renowned painter, Dun Lourenco told Arts & Culture that as a ceramic artist who also does ceramic art for a living, he has always been inspired by the dung beetle. “This has been a great inspiration especially when the dung beetle rolls its dung ball through slants, steeps, and shallow passage ways, muddy and rocky surfaces, but would never let go of its precious dung ball,” the Kopong based ceramist revealed.
Senamolela, who has also exhibited extensively at local galleries, recalls how as little boys they would always try to disturb the dung beetle and even kick its ball sometimes.
“The dung beetle would always struggle to find its ball, and then carry on with its journey. The longer it rolls this ball, the stronger the ball becomes. As boys we would not respect the dung beetle. As
Senamolela is arguably the best ceramist locally. He said he has held his talent tight in his hands so as not to lose it at all but reach his comfortable destiny. He added his artwork in the gallery titled ‘Pathways (dung beetle)’ tells all about his journey in ceramic art. “The wounds on the beetle resemble all my struggles with my work. I am still in a frying pan with my work, as this pandemic has altered my path over the last two years. I shall always keep my head above the water and eventually everything will get better,” he said.
Senamolela expressed hope that this work offers some hope to all who have struggled through the COVID-19 pandemic. He said it is a reminder that people must keep going, work hard and not lose faith.
Unlike normal pottery, Senamolela’s other ceramics in the gallery such as giraffe, image, face mask and Setswana crafts are undeniably stylish. The ceramics can be extremely popular amongst seasoned collectors and new enthusiasts.