Banele Khoza was born in Swaziland and moved to South Africa in 2008. He initially started studying fashion at LISOF, but soon realised his passion lay in drawing. He completed his BTech in Fine Arts at Tshwane University of Technology in 2015. Khoza has been quickly making a name for himself in the arts industry since completing his studies. He won the SA Taxi Foundation Art Award earlier this year, and was chosen by Lizamore & Associates as the 2016 Johannes Stegmann Mentee and was mentored by acclaimed artist Colbert Mashile, culminating in the solo exhibition Lonely Nights in March 2017. He had a solo exhibition, Temporary Feelings, at the Pretoria Art Museum in 2016 and has participated in various group exhibitions and has been a finalist in various art competitions such as the Sasol New Signatures (2014), Thami Mnyele Fine Arts Award (2014), and the Absa L’Atelier (2015 and 2016). He has also completed various commissions and projects, including an artwork for the Tshwane BRT A Re Yeng bus station (2015), a USA ambassadors residential mural drawing (2014) and an illustrated book cover for Edward Nkosi’s The Bearer (2014). OppiKoppi 2017, ‘Me Now, The Mango Picker’, chose one of Khoza’s paintings as the artwork for the event.
Of his winning artwork series, Note Making, Khoza says, ‘Traditionally, note making has been done with pen on paper. With the development of technology the process is steadily changing – over the past years I have owned a tablet that responds to a stylus and has enabled note making that resembles traditional tools. The tablet enables one to sketch at any time of the day, and declutters the working space. Within the notes, I question representations of what it is to be a male in South Africa and also in a broader context. Male nudity and vulnerability is still something that isn’t vastly portrayed in media today and, with this body of work, I have allowed myself to be vulnerable by expressing my thoughts and feelings, which are easily decipherable to a patient eye. The gaze shifts to the male body and raises issues around heteronormative representations of masculinity in portraiture.’ As the Gerard Sekoto Award winner, Khoza is awarded a return flight ticket to Paris, three months’ stay in the Cité Internationale des Arts, nationwide touring exhibitions and training in French. The Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris residencies are made available by SANAVA. The Gerard Sekoto Award, which is given to the most promising South African artist with an income of less than R60 000 per annum, is sponsored by Alliance Française, the French Institute and the French Embassy.
Read more about the 2017 L’Atelier Competition winners here:
Overall winner, Maral Bolouri – Of Mothers and Others
Gerard Sekoto Award winner, Banele Khoza – Lonely Nights, Temporary Feelings and Note Making
First Merit Award winner, Priscilla Kennedy – Unpacking social stereotypes
Second Merit Award winner, Wilhelmina Nell – ‘A sickening symbol of sloth’
Third Merit Award winner, Manyatsa Monyamane – Powerful voices reclaiming their spaces