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Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum

Artist 84 Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum Afrofuturism Mythology Drawing and Painting

Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum (born 1980) is a Botswanan figurative artist and designer based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Her works on paper, large-scale installations, and stop-motion films are rooted in autobiography, addressing the development of transnational identities, human connections, and cross-border rituals.

Motivated by her experiences in diverse locales, Sunstrum explores how one’s sense of identity develops within geographic and cultural contexts.

Her drawings – narrative landscapes that appear simultaneously futuristic and ancient – shift between representational and fantastical depictions of volcanic, subterranean, cosmological, and precipitous landscapes.

The figures in Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum’s drawings and paintings are timeless and often faceless. They populate undefined landscapes that appear to be between worlds.

Pamela is fascinated with ancient mythologies, technology and scientific theories, which permeate her visual language and orientates her work outside of time and place.

In an essay for African Futures, she writes: “I am interested in this idea of locating landscapes of alternative and yet-to-be known possibilities within the space of imagination, rather than in a physical place. The space of imagination opens radically vast territories of possibility. The space of imagination allows for multiple, simultaneous ‘utopianisms.’”

The figures in her art have unfixed identities, and their multiple overlapping gestures and iterations suggest compound time.

Pamela is deeply interested in what she calls the “re-seeing of Afro-mythologies” through the lens of science fiction, and argues in an essay for Paradox Journal, how this can be viewed as a “political tactic for restructuring experiences of the African present through the imagining of new African futures.”

She explores the endless political possibilities of imagining and occupying what she calls “Mythologies of the Future.” She is writing her vision for the future.


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