Lebohang Sithole

Lebohang Sithole works in charcoal and soft pastels, materials as delicate as they are vulnerable and frangible. These are also classically lo-fi and inexpensive art materials, and, as such, typically chosen by a black artist majority denied the privilege of working in more revered and expensive mediums. But then, it is precisely the lo-fi nature of charcoal and pastels which have come to define a South African Black Art Tradition.

In the case of Lebohang Sithole, the challenge is to channel that tradition while maintaining his singularity as an artist. His portraits of children capture both their fragility, and the fragility of the materials and technique used to capture their life-worlds. Jagged streaks, snarled energy fields, close-cropped expressions of joy, convey the rapid-fire see-sawing that is Sithole’s tactical entry. Dynamism is key. There is nothing sedately composed about Sithole’s world. Instead, he seeks to up-end composure and celebrate life’s vivacity – its risk, daring, pleasure. 

1989 -
Nationality: South African
Residence: Johannesburg
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