2 | In studio with Sylvester Falata

2 | In studio with Sylvester Falata

by Nomaza Nongqunga July 26, 2021

We are excited to share in studio with Sylvester Falata represented by Undiscovered Canvas. Sylvester is a well establshed fashion designer, whose work has graced magazine covers, runways, red carpets, cinema and tv screens in his home country South Africa and internationally. In 2020 Sylvester decided to show the world his visual artistic side, and Undiscovered Canvas was very proud of launch his debut series " Ama" and "Boxed"

Here we chat about his new series titled " It takes a Village". We discuss the inspiration behind it, the women that influence him and guide him, and what he hopes his work will evoke in viewers.

1. What inspired you to create the series"It takes a village" ?

One of the first lessons I remember consciously learning from my mother was her saying that I should extend the same respect I give her to all elders in the village, if they needed to send me somewhere I had to go, and even if they were to reprimand me I had to show the same respect as I would at home. So In essence, the whole village was responsible for a child’s upbringing. And that’s how Ubuntu/Botho was put into practice. It literally took a village. 

But I extended the same thinking to a more spiritual realm, and thought of how there’s a non physical village that’s always there to guide one. My grandmother Mam’Tyilibe is a powerful energy that I feel in my life, so most of the pieces pay respect to her and many who’s name I don’t know.

2. This series is arriving at an unstable period in SA with riots and looting, can you tell us about the current situation and the importance of this serie now ? 

There was a coming together that moved me as South Africans we’re putting their lives back together. For me it was a demonstration of what we can do when we stand together. It’s Ubuntu in action. And just a reminder that we need each other. And that’s what the intention with the serious is. A reminder of that. Beyond it being a lesson about respect, it was a lesson about community. So In all the chaos, that’s one thing that stood out. For me.

3. What does your creative process look like?

I have a ritual around my process, it involves scent/ fragrance, candles and flowers. There’s an atmosphere these tools create. And then I can step into the canvas. I generally don’t have an idea of how the piece will come out. It takes a life of its own, my duty is to show up and to make sure I’m receptive to inspiration. And it’s important that I don’t think. Otherwise I get in the way. So it’s very intuitive. The only time I’ll have an idea before I begin is if I’ve dreamt of an art piece. But even then it will take a life of its own as it unfolds.

4. How do you hope to make the viewer feel with your work ? What emotions or response do you hope to create ?

I’m very intentional about creating work that is positive, work that reminds us of who we are. truly are. Beyond the labels, titles, etc. I want anyone who engages with my work to feel seen and heard. To remember how powerful we are. And I hope it brings joy and healing to the viewer we could do with some of that. That’s why I make sure I’m somewhat in alignment when I show up. I don’t bleed on the canvas, because otherwise that’s the energy that emanates out into the world. I transmute the fear, the anger, etc. the canvas is a sacred space for me.

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