King Debs

‘Letsopa le kgobja le sa le metse, la oma le hlaba.’

Clay is taken out while it’s still soft; allowed to be dry it begins to prick.

a) Problems are better solved while they are still fresh.

b) It is easier to instil discipline and moral values in a child whilst they are young, because as they get older, they develop their own ways of navigating the world.

"My unique calligraphy style is a synthesis of glyphs and scripts that I have been developing for the past couple of years. I mostly write in my mother-tongue, which is Setswana. The language is mostly found in the North West parts of South Africa and Botswana. My calligraphy script itself is a response and transposition of the rich oral tradition of the Bantu people. Through the medium of handwriting, this allows me to assert an aesthetic that allows me to bridge the gap between the past, present, and contemplate the future. The calligraphy itself allows me to encrypt the ancient words that I'm writing, while offering a space for them to be experienced by others. I believe it is very important to keep our Elders’ ancient knowledge alive, as much as it's important to keep it sacred. One realizes the importance of identity through language, as certain proverbs and mantras resonate better in their indigenous dialects. This is how our elders have been passing knowledge from one generation to the next. For this wall, I freestyled using a calligraphy handstyle. Usually I write about what interests me at the moment, which is African proverbs at this point in time. I chose this Sepedi proverb, because it reflects my state of mind which is connected to problem solving, an ongoing study of mindfulness, values and discipline. The meaning of the proverb itself can be applied to everyday experiences, which resonate with the viewer. I am currently exploring, (un)learning and unpacking my language (Setswana). The calligraphy allows me to rediscover my mother-tongue, and have contemporary dialogues about it, even in foreign places, connecting to the source of my language through art."

The creation of this piece was performed live as part of a Leap Collective initiative.