ONE SMALL SEED MAGAZINE Issue #29 Digital 04 THE BEST OF - Page 26

A deft painterly touch nevertheless distinguishes his technique from that of the street artist. As Mustafa explains, ‘I think my work deals more with ways of seeing and experiencing life and how the world in turn, sees you. I am inventing the subject and placing it in a context of my own making. The subject, so to speak, is my idea and does not exist outside of my thoughts. Characters in my works exist in very complex societies and particular spaces that could exist in the real world.’ Despite working with inanimate source material, there is an intimate interaction between the artist and his subject that evolves through the process of bringing them to life. ‘My source material is just that, material. I have a lengthy process of editing, mixing and remixing this material and refining it until I am able to use it in the production of a painting. Their origin or original purpose is irrelevant to the reading of my work.’ Likening his role as painter to a film director in charge of a cast of actors, Mustafa asserts that his characters ‘are who I make them to be.’ ‘I am the scriptwriter, the costume designer and the lighting technician,‘ he continues. ‘My characters however, are frozen in a kind of time capsule, doomed to forever be staring out at the viewer and play their part in my production. The abundant paradoxes in Maluka’s work begin to make sense as one charts the 31-year-old’s career. It’s the story of a young hip-hop head from the flats who, after some obligatory twists of fate, lands a residency at one of the Netherlands’ most prestigious fine-art academies. Ironically (but sadly, unsurprisingly) it was outside of the land of his birth that he first began to attract serious attention. During a four month stint as an artist in residence, Marlene Dumas paid a visit to his Amsterdam studio and shortly thereafter helped set the ball in motion for tenure at De Ateliers - a nurturing ground for imminent sensations. His time in Holland