IN: Inspiration

Q&A with 2017 Fashion category runner-up, Tshepo Phokojoe

Tshepo Phokojoe’s piece, Dawn of a New Epoch, explores fashion’s role in rebuilding civilization. We got to know this self-taught, emerging artist better.


PPC Imaginarium

What was your reaction when you heard them announce you as the runner-up of the Fashion category?

It was an overwhelming feeling not only for me but also for my family and friends who accompanied me to the event. Somehow, I didn’t think I’d pick up an award that day which made it extra special. But it was a proud moment, which I believe also made up for me dropping out of university.


Tell us a bit about yourself. What did you study?

was born and raised in White City Jabavu in Soweto. In 2013, I matriculated from Morris Isaacson High School after which I left home for Pretoria to study Tourism at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), where I only studied for a year. In 2015, I started practicing art with the knowledge I obtained from friends who pursued art as a career in school. In 2016, I relocated to Joburg with friends I met at TUT to practice art full-time.


What made you enter the competition?

In the two years that I spent in Pretoria, I learnt about the PPC Imaginarium Awards through helping friends submit artworks for the competition. When I moved to Joburg, it was the first thing on my mind because I’d been following the competition for some time. I believe that PPC Imaginarium gives all artists an equal platform to show their ability, especially self-taught artists like myself.


What was your experience of the competition?

The experience was a bit stressful and challenging for me because it was the first time my work would be part of something this big in the art industry. It all seemed possible after I was selected as a finalist in the competition, which was one of the proudest moments of my life.


What inspired your concept?

My concept was inspired by the movie The Philosophers/After The Dark. The students in the movie try to rebuild civilization and in one scenario they used fashion as a catalyst to achieve this. In my concept, I wanted to show how fashion could be used to rebuild civilizations.


Where to next now that you have won an award from the PPC Imaginarium Awards?

PPC Imaginarium has helped to boost my confidence as an artist working in the art industry and I just want to make more art. I want to work on building myself as an artist and participate in more shows and competitions.


What insights or advice do you have for those entering the 2018 awards?

Avoid using old methods to deal with new problems. Be innovative, break rules and explore – let the creativity in you take over.


What would you like to see more of in the art and design sector of South Africa?

Innovation. I believe being innovative is our only way to keep up with change.


Should anyone want to view or purchase your designs, how can they contact you?

I can be contacted via email at or on Instagram at @tshepo_phokojoe.


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