Artist Spotlight: Tsoku Maela
Written by: Ashley Jannasch
We will be featuring a new series on our blog, “Artist Spotlight” – a series of posts highlighting artists who make work about their own experiences with depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses. In making their work, these artists seek to shed light on what it is like to live with these illnesses and seek to break the stigma associated with them.
Inspired by his lifelong struggles with depression and anxiety, South African photographer Tsoku Maela creates captivating surrealist images in his series Abstract Peaces. Using his body paired metaphorical imagery, his images elicit feelings of fear, hopelessness, and solitude, with underlying resilience. The images are also interspersed with lines of journal entries.
He uses the series as an outlet to express his own personal experiences, as well as a way to raise mental health awareness in his community. While the stigma against mental health persists everywhere, the stigma in South Africa is especially prominent; Maela wrote an essay addressing this topic that can be found here.