Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Bullsheep Presents: The Black Tip Crew

An exhibition by Karabo Maine and Tebogo Cranwell
 Official Artist Statement: Bullsheep Presents: The Black Tip Crew is a group show comprising ink illustrations and multimedia installations by Tebogo Cranwell and Karabo Maine. Both artists explore line as a method of mark-making through black ink. Pieces range from seemingly simple and suggestive forms to intricate geometric patterns and portraits. 
The BTC was formed in 2017 with original members Tebogo Cranwell, Leungo Chopps Tumedi and Karabo Maine. With their initial shared passion for putting black ink to paper, they have set out to explore mark-making on different medium. The idea is to always elevate the simple black line and transform it into something more than just process work. 
Statement about the artwork: The Black Tip Crew’s first exhibition at the National Museum and Art Gallery’s, ‘The Octagon’ gallery, is a minimal and clinical introduction to the two person collective. The curator, Botlhe Makgekgenene (Bullsheep Creative Studios), partitioned the gallery into five distinct spaces for work to exist, two walls each for artists Tebogo Cranwell and Karabo Maine, a central black insulation tape installation piece that exists as a finished art piece unto itself (and also divides the two artists work), a central sculptural installation and a wall dedicated to a collection of both the artists work.
The bulk of the art up on display is illustration, with the medium being black ink on paper. At the core of the collective’s aesthetic is the black line; this is communicated quite successfully in the insulation tape piece starting on the wall and leading onto the floor in two different streams of patterns. The wall and floor piece is a collaboration between the two artists in their shared vision of mark making. This is a testament to the continuous cross pollination of Cranwell and Maine’s different aesthetics.
Tebogo Cranwell work explores femininity through a lens of sensuality and an awareness of playful sexuality and body positivity. Her black and white ink illustrations of the female forms fluctuate between rhythmic geometric patterns and figures, to aggressively subdued hands and forms that suggest the human form through a clever use of negative space and graphic forms. On the other hand, Karabo Maine’s work lends itself to a Afro Futurist aesthetic in its urban and sometimes exaggerated portraits of black and brown people. Maine’s work also speaks to greater themes of nostalgia and black representation. 
The two artists compliment each other in their apparent differences and shared subjects. Speaking on nostalgia, the central sculptural installation with hundreds of plastic wire figures harks to a time of Maine’s creation of toys during the 90’s as a child. The figures are positioned over two large curved surfaces, frozen in a tense moment before a mock ‘war’ or engagement of violence. The black and white wire figures communicate quite well with the black and white illustrations from the two artists. 
As a group show, The Black Tip Crew successfully communicates their shared passion for clean black and white aesthetics on a variety of medium and subject matter. This is one collective to keep an eye out for.  
Statement about the Opening Night: The National Museum and Art Gallery was set alight on Friday the 26th April as the Black Tip Crew hosted their first ever group exhibition.
The exhibition, located within the space known as The Octagon, is simply called Bullsheep Presents: The Black Tip Crew, illustrations by Tebogo Cranwell and Karabo Maine.
Like most magical experiences, one can only anticipate what they are about to witness, and for the great number that came out to see, boy, was it a spectacle.
The night was well thought out with refreshments by Cicotti Botswana and food from Zest for guests to nibble on while engaging with the artwork.
Many guests felt as if they were transported beyond the space and were left feeling grateful for the art and the experience they felt, right here in the heart of Gaborone.
It was a wonderful opening night, elegantly executed and will leave a long-lasting impression and a different style to the landscape of the Botswana art scene.
The show continues until the 5th May 2019, 10:30 ÔÇô 17:30.


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