Tiisetso Dladla was born and raised in the vibrant city of Johannesburg South Africa. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in advertising and fine arts from Howard University. While living in Washington DC, Tiisetso worked on a series of mixed-media paintings depicting South African women in different eras. She was drawn to pursuing a career in film because of her passion for the arts and storytelling. She holds a Masters of Fine Arts degree in film production from New York University, Tisch School of The Arts.
She has written and directed several short films including: Unveil, Coach Fogan’s Swimming Class, In Dreams, Exiled, Cold War and Nehemiah. In 2011, Tiisetso was a recipient of the Spike Lee Production Fund Award for her short film, Nehemiah. She also received the Hollywood Foreign Press Association grant for Nehemiah. She has worked as an art director and scenic painter for Spike Lee’s production company, 40 Acres and A Mule Filmworks. Tiisetso is currently working on her debut feature film, a story adapted from a popular South African stage play.
What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?
This year, I have been inspired to research and learn about famous historical figures, and to also learn about my family history. My family's story is as much apart of global black history, as the stories of the lives of historical black icons. Learning about my family history puts a new context on black history that I can relate to. The most interesting thing that I have learned this year is of the history of how World War One affected my family. My great–great-grandfather was a Canadian soldier that was stationed in Botswana during the war, and it was there that he met and started a family with my great-great-grandmother. Not much is told about the role Africans played duringWWI, but my family history has broadened the context I now know about it.
What Is On Trend Right Now For You?
On trend for me right now is modern African art. I love when artists approach a traditional piece of functional art and put a fresh modern take on it. An example is a traditional Zulu basket, which was once used very practically for storing household items has been redesigned to be both decorative and functional in the home. It can be used as art to place on a mantel or functionally as a decorative fruit basket.
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