The rabbit stands boldly upright, proudly surveying its territory. Around it – perched on several rocks and around every corner – the rest of the colony is engaged in a variety of pursuits. Some, like itself, stand alert (it is late-afternoon and they’ve all had at least a dozen cups of coffee), their agile bodies pulsating slightly with energy and caffeine. Others have just emerged from their warrens after an intense coding session, and blink in the bright sunlight. Some are just shooting the breeze.
The rabbit’s antenna-like ears are, in fact, metal. It, along with twenty-seven other rabbits, has been constructed from scrap metal parts by Theophilus Rikhotso, a young up-and-coming artist who is currently studying at Tshwane University of Technology. The anatomy of each Boccionian bunny is unique, where the mechanized body recalls energy and productivity, and the steel is suggestive of strength.
The series of rabbit sculptures scattered across the Retro Rabbit landscape forms part of a larger Retro Rabbit initiative, launched in order to lend support to a select group of TUT sculpture students. Fine Art students from TUT competed for the Retro commission to produce sculptures to feature in the Retro landscape, where Theophilus produced the winning sculptures. Retro generously purchased twenty maquettes from other students and also donated some money towards the maintenance of the sculpture studio of the university.
The Retro/TUT project culminated in a stunning Retro-sponsored exhibition held at Rabbitania, which showcased Theophilus’s winning maquettes alongside the work of the other students. This was the first time that many of the students had the opportunity to work with a corporate client and to exhibit their work in public. Retro’s generous support will certainly go a long way towards inspiring and further developing the talent of these young artists.
Biography of the artist: Theophelus Rikhotso
Theophelus Rikhotso was born in the rural village of Bungeni, Njhakanjhaka in Limpopo province. He first discovered his artistic talent when he was about eight years old. He was inspired by his uncle, a self-taught artist. Art has always been Theophilus’s passion. He is currently completing his B Tech in Fine and Applied Arts at Tshwane University of Technology, majoring in sculpture. For Theophilus, art is a vehicle for the expression of his thoughts, memories and life experiences. His work is inspired by nature and his environment.