Using his own skillfully crafted handmade paper, Thina Dube’s work explores the politics of language in South Africa, and the ways in which individual identities are dramatically shaped by what languages they can or cannot speak. In particular he is interested in English as means of control and manipulation in relation to indigenous South African languages. In some art works, he intersperses texts in different South African languages, some of whose pages are partially burned, evoking notions of erasure and disappearance as well as the rage of political protest.
In others, texts and organic plant materials are embedded under the surface of the paper itself, suggestive of identity’s many layers, which sometimes peel or flake away but other times remain hidden. Silhouettes step in and out of the subtle indentation spaces defined by printing, or sometimes linger on the border of that space. Here we find ideas around imposition and entrapment, again in relation to language and power. Thina also explores identity construction in the sphere of social media and how this impacts the way we present ourselves.
Born in 1993, Thina is a recent graduate of the University of Johannesburg, holds a postgraduate diploma in Education, and teaches at the National School of the Arts. Thina is also an art therapist who has worked with children with special needs. Thina has exhibited in group shows at Turbine Art Fair in 2015, Constitutional Hill in Jo’burg, and with the Sguzu Press Soweto. He enjoys poetry and is exploring video and sound as form of documentation, and the ways in which those media are used to rewrite history.