The F8REVER collective recently showcased some of their work during Cape Town’s popular First Thursdays evening. With the UU space as their canvas, the collective exhibited part one of their ongoing interactive series. Mbongisani Dube, Bilali Mwayeya and Karabo Masalela make up the F8REVER collective that was founded right in the City of Cape Town. Having been artists even before they met, the members still have much to say through their art and poetry. We sat down with them at the UU store to get clued up on their beginnings and current headspace.


What is the context of your artwork or inspiration?

That’s a deep question. We create because we’re always inspired to create, we’re inspired to learn. That’s why we involve ourselves in a whole lot of different mediums. That’s also why we’re a collective because we want to learn from each other. All of us are visual artists. One member, who’s currently in Botswana (Karabo) is a writer, rapper and poet. We try to mix poetry and illustrations. The undertaking of the root of a poem is what it’s about. For example, we have these super short poems, that are about four words that we use to make certain illustrations. In the meantime, we’re just trying to create and get better.


Walk us through the context of your art making process?

We usually start with an abstract that we work from. That normally becomes the guide of whatever we’re doing. We kind of pick apart the stories. For example, taking a paragraph from a specific book and breaking down what it entails. Researching what it means and kind of getting deeper. Trying to tell a story across all boards, like architecture for instance. We’re taking the normal world and creating a surreal world. If you look at the images, you see that the places are familiar even though it looks totally distorted.


How long have you guys been doing this?

F8REVER started in twenty-thirteen. All three of us had our own separate journeys building up to this point. We basically just decided to start working together. We used to skip class and go to different art galleries holding paintings, even getting kicked out of a couple. Eventually we had to figure out what we wanted to do and just build from there. We started it here in Cape Town mostly because there was a culture of it already.


How have you experienced the Cape Town art scene?

There’s no confusion about the dynamics of the scene. It’s very transparent. What we’re trying to do is not conform to any kind of zone. We want to create the zone and let you come and experience it. It’s more than just going to a place to view art. It’s about how you feel, the vibe, the music. All that is very important. It’s about coming into the zone. We enjoy spaces where we’re allowed freedom to just do what we do. We’re very particular about little things and themes in terms of issues that we speak to. Essentially, we really try to bring our themes into those spaces.


Can you speak on the inspiration for the pieces presented at the recent First Thursday event at UU?


The main event is going to be two big canvases being presented upstairs, which is part one (part two will happen later). It’s basically about two opposites (contrast) like light and dark. The inspiration came from a story of two twin sisters who were essentially opposites. Those elements of contrasts led us to create this artwork.


Tell us about how you came to collaborate with UU?

We heard about Unknown Union through a friend. She’s actually been helping us set up this exhibition. One of her lecturers is friends with Jason so she linked that up. We came in here and basically said what we wanted to do and they were on board with it.


What more can we expect from you?

We’ve got a couple of things planned for the year that’s going to keep people interested. Just expect to understand the themes we speak on, on a much deeper level. This collaboration with Unknown Union is something to look out for as well. We’re trying to do a graphic novel. We haven’t even started illustrating yet but we’re working on that gradually. We really want to take our time with it. Instead of us just being about canvases, we’re going to do more. People are going to see that.

 (Matimu Rikhotso for Unknown Union) 


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Image by Andrea Clare


Image by Andrea Clare


Image by Andrea Clare


Image by Andrea Clare