We all have storerooms, backyards, and trunkloads storing archived unwanted or expired products and life experiences, right? Somewhere items are lying about like odd hangers, broken irons and pegs? Usha Seejarim translates ordinary objects into a dichotomy of monumental artwork. Items used daily like irons, brooms, safety pins and wooden pegs mark the aura of her humanistic themes in the dynamics of space, displacement, chance and time.
2013 – Beaded portrait for the funeral of former South African president Nelson Mandela
With a master’s degree in fine art and a simultaneous qualification as a laughter coach, Usha Seejarim is a visionary artist with an astonishing profile of esteemed works, including the Nelson Mandela funeral portrait along with numerous large-scale public artworks.
Curator of the thought-provoking ‘I am because you are: A search for Ubuntu with Permission to dream” exhibition was an initiative to encourage viewers to contemplate the value of Ubuntu in contemporary life. The exhibition comprised of 52 artworks from a range of artists
She was recently awarded the Best Sculpture prize at the Senegal Biennale of Contemporary African Art (Dak’Art). She remains no less than one of the laureates of this festival.
” I never thought I would become an artist as a child. I loved art, but it was not seen as a profession in social circles and the community I was raised in. I enrolled at FUBA (federated Union of Black Artists), in Newtown Johannesburg when my school did not offer art as a study subject. I took part-time courses at FUBA and never looked back. I then got a qualification equivalent of a bachelor of fine arts at Wits technikon and my Master’s of Fine Arts at Wits University ”Usha Seejarim : winner of the sculpture prize of biennial DakÁrt in Senegal
Meet CreatepreneurAfrica – ‘Aesthetic Extraordinaire’ Usha Seejarim
Tell us what drives you? What is your true passion in life?
The constant pursuit of a feeling of complete presence and joy. Albeit fleeting, for me, this is achieved through stillness, through being in nature and through making art.
How did you find your passion and how old were you?
This is always a difficult question to answer. I have always enjoyed drawing and making things. Perhaps when I was a teenager, I became aware that this was somewhat of a gift, through the attention given by others.
What about your passion appeals to you the most?
That despite the fact that the work is often complex, often incredibly labor intensive and often challenging to navigate, it always seems effortless and enjoyable.
What drove you to make money from your passions?
The stubborn attitude to making it work and not succumbing to easier means of earning an income that would involve negating the making of art.
When was the first time you were paid for your passion?
Perhaps as a student when I took on mural painting and other student jobs available for an art student.
What kept you going when you thought about giving up?
A belief in myself and an inner voice that said that this is, in fact, bigger than yourself. An acknowledgment of a gift.
What motivates you every day to be even more successful?
A definition of success that is much further away from where I am right now.
What do you have to say to all of the people who doubted you?
I would like to believe that I have matured enough not to care about those that have doubted me. My journey does not involve proving anything to anybody. I am simply doing my thing and getting on with it.
What advice do you give to aspiring creative's who look up to you?
I stress the importance of being authentic. Be yourself and allow your unique journey to unfold. Work hard without trying too hard. Be ambitious without being desperate and learn from those who you admire. Emulate their work ethic and not their work.