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"We Are Our Own Puppet"

By: Lexi Zabel

Every individual is born with their own unique talents and abilities that they use to shine in the world. Some people may be musical, others may be amazing chefs, while a handful have the potential to become professional actresses/actors. Tumisang Leshoeli, a sophomore at Graceland University, has the incredible gift of being able to turn her ideas and concepts about the world into beautiful artwork. Recently, Leshoeli created a breathtaking sculpture using welded metal rods and sheeting with yarn. This sculpture, which is 20 inches wide and 68 inches tall, is named “Puppeteer” and is based off Leshoeli’s idea that we are all our own puppet. In her artist statement, Leshoeli explains the reason for why she built her mind-blowing sculpture and the impact she hopes it has on those who take time to reflect and appreciate each and every string that went into constructing “Puppeteer.”

To begin with, Leshoeli starts off by revealing that the title of her masterpiece is centered on her belief that in life, people feel like they are not the ones controlling themselves. More specifically, she writes, “Sometimes in life we feel out of control, almost like we are controlled by someone stronger or powerful, leaving you to feel like the puppet.” Along with this, Leshoeli talks about how each distinctive string stands for the connections we have in our lives, such as family, friendships, and who knows, maybe even those we don’t get along with as well. Usually when people think of a puppet, their minds race to the fact of not being in control of their own actions or life. Instead of this, Leshoeli exclaims,“My sculpture takes on the idea that we are our own puppet, executing the concept that we are boundless to outsiders’ thoughts and perceptions of who we are, what we should do, who we should be and where we should go.” The intention behind Lesheoli’s art is something many can resonate with. We are in control of our life, not anyone else. Lastly, Lesheoli ties her African culture into her piece of artwork by using bright colors of string to represent the bright colors they wear in her country. The way Lesheoli was able to combine her own culture and views to make an amazing sculpture has been inspirational to many.

Leshoeli’s artwork is currently standing in the bottom of Graceland’s Fredrick Smith Library, so students and professors can stop by and admire her work. Along with this, everyone has the chance to visit Leshoeli’s “Puppeteer” online in the Shapes and Colors Gallerium exhibition until March 31, 2023. Don’t be shy, visit Gallerium: Shapes and Colors | Group Exhibition and show Leshoeli support for her outstanding work!

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