Meleko Mokgosi, Bread, Butter, and Power, 2018
Meleko Mokgosi’s large-scale episodic painting cycle Bread, Butter, and Power forms the newest chapter in his ongoing series Democratic Intuition, which seeks to explore ideas about the many ways that democratic concepts influence our lives, loves, and relationships on macro- and micro-levels. This twenty-panel installation interrogates the theme of feminism in the context of southern Africa, and considers the consequences of dividing labor practices by gender.
Mokgosi’s approach to storytelling through the form of history painting allows us to compare what we see in the paintings to the realities of inequality and gendered labor division we know from experience. This approach to the content also inspires us to think expansively about politics, power structures, and the role of history in the creation of the current nations of southern Africa.(text Fowler Museum)
The new group, “Bread, Butter, and Power” (2018), centers loosely on gender and class dynamics. In these paintings, Mokgosi subtly but decisively champions the undervalued work of women in southern African society, while conveying hopes for reclaiming a sense of self-determination for the formerly colonized region.(quote Jennifer S Li, Art in America, 2018)
Meleko Mokgosi (born in Francistown, Botswana) is an artist who works within an interdisciplinary framework to create large-scale project-based installations. Mokgosi works across history painting, cinematic tropes, psychoanalysis, and post-colonial theory. His studio program interrogates narrative tropes and the fundamental models for the inscription and transmission of history along side established European notions of representation in order to address questions of nationhood, anti-colonial sentiments, and the perception of historicized events. His artwork has been exhibited nationally and internationally at venues including the Botswana National Gallery, The Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art Museum, The Studio Museum in Harlem, the Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Culture Center, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and the Lyon Museum of Contemporary Art.(text website artist)