Thebe Phetogo Botswana, b. 1993

Thebe Phetogo is an artist from Botswana who works in painting, sculpture and installation. Rooted in his positionality as a Motswana artist working from a place of dislocation, Phetogo uses art to locate and build a space for himself in history, as a subject and participant of the contemporary moment. 

His work explores the construction of personal identity and narratives, questioning how our understanding of gender, sexuality, politics and history are formed.


For his residency project in Lagos with the Arthouse Foundation in 2020, Phetogo created another chapter in his blackbody series. The title is adopted from the eponymous concept in physics, whereby a blackbody is “an idealized, hypothetical perfect physical body and absorber and radiator of all electromagnetic energy, with no reflecting power”. These paintings are formed in monochrome, borrowing from the aesthetic properties of green screens on film sets. The series explores the relationship between the individual and the community, questioning notions of the ideal body and visibility.


Thebe Phetogo's residency project will be presented in the exhibition, blackbody Composites, 22-31 October 2020.