Thought print

Design Indaba Emerging Creative Mohau Moholane was always “that kid that drew”. He explains why people are his focal point and what art means to his identity

1. Have you always made art?

I have always been that kid that drew. When I was younger, I liked to draw cartoons and comic book characters. As I got older and continued drawing, my skill developed incrementally. I liked the fact that I could draw and not many kids around me did that. But it was only when I did visual arts at high school that I got to know exactly what art could mean.



2. What do you like most about the visual arts, and do you have a favourite medium? 
I like the idea of creating something that evokes emotions or starts conversations, and I think that is what artists do. They express what everyone else feels but finds difficult to express. My favourite medium to use is oil paint. I have allowed myself to use a range of different other mediums in order to express myself. 


3. I notice you are also quite busy with printmaking. What appeals to you about this, and how is it different to painting?
I think the whole process of getting to a final print is rather interesting. I like how you never really know what the image will look like until you actually make the print. The other thing I like about this medium is that some techniques allow me to produce more than one print, whereas with a painting it is generally a once-off thing. 


4. Why is it that you focus most often on the human body, especially faces?

A lot of it comes from studying Western art. I fell in love with how artists, such as Rembrandt, were able to capture people’s raw emotions on canvas. Looking at those figures they painted, and seeing what feelings they evoked in me, is what I wanted to achieve with my own paintings. 


5. Who are some of your influences, and why?
I’ve been influenced by numerous artists over the years, but the two I always return to and draw inspiration from are George Pemba and Rembrandt. Pemba was probably the first South African artist to whom I was introduced, and his depiction of people living around him in the townships influenced me to also choose people as the focal point within my work. Like him, I aim to express myself through them. 


6. Any significant career achievements to date?
A great milestone for me was having my first-ever exhibition in 2019. It encouraged me to actually go for it and do art whole-heartedly. 



7. What are you working on at the moment, and what is up next for you?

At the moment, I’m working on a dense body of work. I basically want to create as many paintings as I can within the next five months or so.


Read more:

Announcing Design Indaba’s Emerging Creatives Class of 2022.

Story of my life.
Smooth operator.

Credit: Supplied