Design of the week: Larger than life

2014-08-31 15:00

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Macdonald Mfolo from Orange Farm, a township south of Johannesburg, is a costume and puppet maker who has created outfits for dance group Real Action Pantsula.

His latest work, created for a shoot by local photographer Chris Saunders and featuring clothes by Jenny Lai, a New York experimental womenswear designer, is something to behold.

Using papier-mâché, cement bags salvaged from construction sites and plastic bottles from a nearby recycling depot, he crafts massive puppet heads and hands.

There is an eerie, surreal nature to his work. The unseeing stare of his larger-than-life puppet head is reminiscent of a Cirque du Soleil clown. There is something about such a vast, blank face that allows viewers to project their own emotions on to it.

When worn by performance artist Manthe Ribane, Mfolo’s puppet head and Lai’s pantsula-inspired garb come to eerie life.

Shot in Orange Farm, the location turns into a trippy dreamscape with a massive pantsula dancer in flowing gear.

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