They say the only constant in life is change – an influence in the evolution of politics, economies and cultures. While the world moves into forging a generic global culture – there are distinct groups of people who see fit to stick to an unbroken way of living – being known as the last original tribes found on the planet.
A few of such distinct cultures are found in our home, Africa. Namely the San Tribe, Mursi and Massai cultures remain the very few living cultures that do not carry any western influence – yet, still need to be documented. Botswana’s artist Kutlo Mabua used his passion and artistic talent to tell the tale of our continent’s last living untapped cultures – under his exhibition ‘The Last Tribes of Africa’. Our Afrolutionist Mmabatho Motsamai spoke to him to tap into what brought this series to life:
What inspired you to create this artistic series?
I don’t think inspiration is constant, similar to an individual viewing art or an art piece on their own. I was inspired here by how the Mursi take pride in their culture in these changing times. They are evidently unaffected by western cultures or change but are still able to look elegant. Using this, I felt just as they take pride in themselves I should do so with my work. Being able to take a stand and believe wholeheartedly in what I do. – A Birthright. Basically who I am and the way I present each and every little piece of myself to the world.
What is your core message bringing this Ethiopian tribe into a still existence (through art?)
Influence is like fire, and creation is such a burn experimenting with such a force. My message was and is still simply; for one to be whom they are as an artist or any other craftsmen. To allow people to see you in your work no matter what you produce and or present.
How was the response of your art during the exhibition?
People really loved my work and the number of people who turned out was quiet pleasing. This exhibition has managed to open a number of doors for me of which I will most certainly enjoy exploring during the growth of my career.
Growing up in Mahalapye, a small town in the central district of Botswana, Kutlo was raised by his grandparents while his parents worked away from the town. It may have had an influence in him selecting art as an optional class while in high school, further becoming one of the tools he used for personal growth. Through his art, Kutlo has documented his own journey where his core lessons boil down to patience, and embodying all his life experiences in art. His exhibited his latest series Last Tribe of Africa at the test Kitchen Café towards the close of the year. Interested in his digital footprint? View more of his work on his social media – or contact his management.
Have a full look at his artwork: