Competition works
  >  Artists  >  Artists Profile  >  Artwork

Covered in the dark

2021 Competition entry

Mamello Morake

Acrylic paint on canvas
84 x 59 cm
R25 000


This portrait was created with acrylic paint on a canvas. She used a blue colour as a base, and began with painting the highlighted areas of the face and layered it up with darker shades, but on the body she applied the inverse of the technique she used on the face. The dark background allows the redness of the blanket to be more vivid and the red itself connotes the warmth of the blanket.

After a couple of minutes of taking countless pictures with him doing a hundred poses, they then got hit by what most South Africans know well and detest, load-shedding. He sat down and covered himself with a blanket and started fidgeting with his phone. It was then that she saw the artistic potential of that moment. This moment depicts the uncontrollable urge of distracting ourselves with our cellphones at any given second, which many of us relate to. Like the lockdown, load-shedding forces us to take a pause from everything and sit still, but we are so used to engaging with what is happening outside of quietness and stillness; we are so afraid of missing out and being okay with being alone – we are constantly running away from solitude as though it is a bad thing.

Regardless of load-shedding something always draws us to our phones, but this moment captured in the dark and the subject focused on the lit cellphone screen perfectly illustrates how we shut out everything that is happening around us in our physical space when our attention is channelled to our cellphones. Could our addiction to cellphones perhaps be a pandemic that long existed before the Covid-19 we now know of? Maybe.