Time, Place, & Identity
Born in Mochudi, Botswana, the artist Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum merges ideas of ancient mythologies with scientific theories in her work. Sunstrum is interested in topics such as the origins of time, geological concepts, and ideas about the universe. Her works on paper, large-scale installations, and stop-motion films are rooted in autobiography. They address the development of transnational identities, human connections, and cross-border rituals. Having lived in Africa, Southeast Asia, and the United States, Sunstrum developed an alter-ego, Asme, to convey her unfixed, evolving sense of identity. The image of Asme is often superimposed with overlapping gestures as a means of suggesting compounded time, illustrating her universal, temporal existence. Sunstrum’s landscapes also expand on themes of timelessness; she reconstructs sites both real and imagined to reveal the small scale of individuals within the vast universe, a concept that’s reminiscent of eighteenth century notions of the sublime.
Sunstrum came to the United States in 1998 and received degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Mount Royal School of Art at the Maryland Institute College of Art. She lived in Baltimore, Maryland, as an artist-in-residence at the Baltimore Creative Alliance while also teaching at the Maryland Institute College of Art. She is currently based out of Johannesburg, South Africa, and is showcased in both individual and group exhibitions around the world. Sunstrum was appointed assistant professor in the Department of Visual Art & Art History of York University in 2017.
To see more of Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum’s artwork, visit https://www.pamelaphatsimosunstrum.com/.