‘Sick O’ Integrates Graffiti In Artistic Expression Of Liberation

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Odigile Setshwantso, an artist affectionately known as ‘Sick O,’ has unveiled his current artistic phase, describing it as experimental yet deeply rooted in themes of freedom and societal liberation.

Setshwantso passionately expressed, “graffiti is about freedom. It uses calligraphy to paint meaning into being, and it is about liberating oneself and channeling your message through it. Mine is about freedom and showing Afro centric figures that have embodied ideals of liberation.”

Drawing inspiration from artistic giants like Jean-Michelle Basquat, Van Gogh, and Picasso, Sick O’s experimental style which comprises of a vibrant color palette, delves into weighty subjects such as the Congo genocide and Pan-African ideals, advocating for the emancipation of black consciousness and socio-economic liberation.

A student of history with a background in fine art and architecture, Setshwantso traced the genesis of his artistic journey to his mother’s basket weaving, “The first artist I can remember was my mother. I grew up admiring her weaving craft and learnt of the importance of artistic expression and its importance in invoking a message in a person’s mind.”

Over time, he evolved through the influence of musical genres like Kwaito and hip hop. However, he admitted that the hip hop scene from the 90s influenced his craft. His artistic repertoire draws parallels with hip hop legends such as Nas and KRS-One, exhibiting raw strokes and evocative imagery reminiscent of Nas’s iconic “NY State of Mind.”

Sick O recently showcased his art at The Space art gallery, where his pieces sold out, marking a triumphant debut exhibition. Reflecting on his success, he remarked, “I am glad my first exhibition was a success, and I hope for more, but I still maintain that I love the art itself, and at this moment, I am working on perfecting the craft.”

Looking ahead, Sick O envisions refining his craft to develop a signature style uniquely his own. He plans to establish his own art supply shop and serve as a mentor to aspiring artists, sharing his insights and guiding them toward artistic excellence. With a fervent desire to inspire the next generation, Sick O aims to uplift and empower budding artists to strive for greatness.

Setshwantso’s journey exemplifies the transformative power of graffiti as not merely an art form but a catalyst for social change and personal liberation. As he continues to push boundaries and redefine artistic expression, Sick O stands as a beacon of creativity, resilience, and hope in the world of contemporary art.

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