Mothibatsela is Set for Investec Cape Town Art Fair

  • She will showcase her collection series styled ‘MarthaFrancis’ that serves as a tribute to her grandmothers and her experience of their existence


A Motswana artist who has been at the helm of the visual arts and arts education in Botswana, Sedireng Mothibatsela, will showcase her works at this year’s Investec Cape Town Art Fair.

Scheduled for 16 to 18 February, the biggest art fair on the African continent will be returning to Cape Town for its 11th edition where art enthusiasts will immerse themselves in a cultural deluge.

Represented by curatorial gallery, Ora Loapi Mothibatsela will exhibit her works alongside the likes of the iconic Esther Mahlangu.

“We are showcasing the ceramic works of Mothibatsela while paying tribute to her teaching for 20 years at Maru-a-Pula School,” the founder of Ora Loapi, Lorato Motshwarakgole, told Time out.


“We are excited to share more on Mothibatsela’s incredible journey through a short documentary as she prepared to exhibit works that pay tribute to the indigenous art-making processes associated with clay in Botswana.”

Born and raised in Gaborone, Mothibatsela won a scholarship to attend The Maryland Institute College of Art in 1997 where she attained a Bachelor’s Degree with Honours in General Fine Arts.

Her work explores themes of identity, fragility, grief, collective memory and personal emotional journeys. Mothibatsela will showcase her collection series styled ‘MarthaFrancis’ that serves as a tribute to her grandmothers and her experience of their existence at the Cape Town Art Fair.


Destructive and creative

Her compendium for Cape Town consists of seven smoke drawings and 10 intricately detailed ceramic pieces. The visual artist considers the destructive and creative quality of fire as a medium in attempting to understand the transformation that comes with death.

She told Time Out in an interview: “This body of work started a few years ago when I started investigating issues of identity. Martha’s favourite flowers were white roses and Francis’ were proteas.

“So I used the flowers to create and influence the shape of the vessels. I have also used the firing techniques and the medium of clay to speak of how we return to being the earth when we die. The clay symbolises the earth.”

“Fire is an important element”

“Fire is an important element in this work because it cleanses and also destroys. All of these abstracts and tangible elements can be used to speak about myself through these women who are a part of me.

“We will be showcasing the ceramic pieces with the flame drawing to draw a connecting so that the people who view the ceramics are able to create a connection.”

New Generation

This year the arts fair has introduced a new section styled “Generations” that features inter-generational dialogues about selected artists, including Mothibatsela, who will be in conversation with Lulu Mhlan.



Motshwarakgole explained that the section prioritises idiosyncrasy by instigating cross-generational conversations among 10 unlikely artists as a way of thinking through the jumps and continuums of past-present-futures in contemporary art making.

This year’s edition of the arts fair is themed “Unbound,” which is a concept that underlines breaking free from traditional narratives and embracing diverse viewpoints and creative ideas.