Pholile Hlongwane, born in 1994, in Bergville Kwa-Zulu-Natal, was introduced to art at the age of 7. Growing up in the wetlands of Kwa-Zulu Natal, the young artist would spend her time making little creatures and figures out of clay and sand. Following her passion for creation, Hlongwane went on to study Fine Art at the Vaal University of Technology.
Hlongwane is a practicing visual artist with an interest in sculptural work. She creates her work using varying materials such as ceramics, grass, cement and bones. Her first art exhibition took place at the Jo-burg Art Fair in 2016.
She has participated in various group shows at Carnegie Gallery in New Castle, Julie Millie Gallery in Midrand, Bodutu Arts Gallery in Vanderbijlpark, and Miami Red Dot in New York.
For the young sculptor, her work is motivated by a poem she used to recite while growing up titled “if you do not take care of nature you are nothing”. Given the dramatic rate at which animals are going extinct or being endagered, Hlongwane uses her art to raise awareness of the human interventions that destroy the environment. The artist considers herself as an ecofeminist exploring the fragility of life.
However, not only does she use her art and research to bring awareness to environmental issues, she also re-invests her knowledge back into her community. Back home, she helps young girls in the community learn how to make bags and scarves, giving them the opportunity to learn a marketable craft.
Some of her most celebraed work includes being commissioned to complete a ceramics sculpture for the new J.P. Morgan offices in Sandton, Johannesburg, as well as being a finalist in the PPC Imaginarium Art Awards earlier this year.