For the longest time I asked myself “What does it mean to be Indian?”. In my artistic practice, I grapple with this question.
My work explores aspects of “what constitutes Indian-ness” both in contemporary South Africa and across the world. In my theoretical exploration, I discovered more about my multicultural identity and gained a sense of self-authenticity.
Growing up, I lived on my grandparent’s farm in rural Kwa-Zulu Natal. I spent time in their tavern and encountered people from different cultures and races. These experiences influenced my practice tremendously.
I find racial constructs, particularly in the South African context problematic. I strive for humanity and unity. However, I try not to abandon my cultural acquisition of Indianness in my practice.
As themes, I explore the duality between life and death; unpack aspects of spirituality, nature and architecture; examine the associations to the subconscious mind; and lastly, explore concepts of love and beauty. The ideologies of theosophy, modern culture, race, religion coupled alongside my Indian heritage forms my subject matter.
The utilisation of brown cardboard as a matrix is influenced by me and my family’s constant moving over the years. I connect my pieces of cardboard together with cable ties. The cardboard symbolises the nostalgic memory of movements and the construction and deconstruction of different cultures. I use both traditional and non-traditional media. The cable ties symbolises my late father as an individual who would bring my family together.
Mashir Kresenshun is an artist based in Johannesburg, South Africa. He was born in 1999 in Greytown, Kwa- Zulu Natal. When he was a child, he would spend most of his time drawing cartoons and wondering about nature on his grandparent’s farm, where he lived for most of his childhood. Kresenshun’s family would then move homes many times after, as his parents obtained different jobs. Until this date, Kresenshun’s family moved 22 times.
Kresenshun would practice in all disciplines which are depicted with or on cardboard. However, he also creates works on paper and canvas. The utilisation of cardboard symbolises the idea of durability, movement, possession, modern culture, transition, ambition, passion and weight. As an Indian individual living in the world, Mashir does not want to be recognized as an Indian individual but rather a human being. Mashir narrates concepts/ ideologies from his personal perspective. Through this, he explores aspects of multicultural identity and self- authenticity? He hopes to address this aspect of living in a liminal space, between black, white and ‘coloured’ people.
Mashir’s preferred media of practice is drawing, painting and printmaking, adding sculptural elements. The sculptural surface adds different dimensional plains, conceptualising the piecing together of cultures. Kresenshun uses printmaking on cardboard as a unique mannerism, which sets him apart as an artist.
In 2019, Kresenshun received Top 20 in Thami Mnyele and Top 100 in Sasol New Signatures. He recently exhibited a duo show at St Lorient Art/ Fashion Gallery in Pretoria entitled ” The Inbetween: Batho le Naga (People and Land)”. Mashir also worked beside a crew of artists on the prestigious Showmax TV series “Devilsdorp”. Kresenshun studied at the University of Johannesburg for 2 years thereafter finishing his studies at Artist Proof Studio whilst working from his studio in the heart of Johannesburg
Sunny Side Up, Group Exhibition, Graham Contemporary, Johannesburg, South Africa