A man of many talents, Khehla Chepape Makgato is a rising star in the art world and is becoming increasingly renowned for his work as an artist, philanthropist and freelance arts writer.
In addition to being the founder and creative director of Samanthole Creative Projects, which provides art skills, encourages reading of poetry and literature, and motivates the youth in rural communities of South Africa, Makgato recently received the 2018 Zygote Press International Artist Residency in Cleveland, USA.
Born in Kensington, Johannesburg, he was raised in a rural village outside Polokwane in Limpopo. He has achieved a diploma in Fine Arts, a diploma in Media Practice, majoring in Journalism and has participated in a number of exhibitions locally and internationally. Makgato works in a range of mediums including collage and assemblage art. His art often focuses on social issues and the people involved in them.
From 27 May until 20 June 2018, he will be holding a solo exhibition at the RK Contemporary art gallery in Riebeek Kasteel, Western Cape. Titled Chronicles From Makotopong, the exhibition features a body of work inspired by the artist’s memories and experiences from the rural village in which he grew up.
Makgato said, ‘This body of work explores and revisits the village – Makotopong, a small village over 18 kilometres outside Polokwane, in which I spent the first two decades of my life.
‘Some titles reflect the names of real people in memory, especially rich names of women from the Northern-Sotho culture. There is an abstract self-portraiture frequenting this body of work.’
‘The show especially seeks to honour the ever-hardworking and resilient women who, despite so many challenges and under-resourced facilities in their homes and communities at large, manage to bring up children of note, who become important adults.
‘In this instance, I used the recently appointed Vice-Chancellor of the Cape Town University, Professor Rosina Mamokgethi Phakeng-Setati to reference the success against odds by black women in South Africa who are constantly confronted by male-dominated workplace environments. Professor Phakeng’s achievements can inspire a little girl in a dusty rural village, such as where I come from, to strive for a dream.’
Makgato is definitely a local artist to keep an eye on. His accolades include being one of 2 South African delegates to the 2012 Africa Utopia Youth Arts, Cultural and Olympia Festivals of the World at the Southbank Centre in London. He is also an inaugural recipient of the 2016 Art Across Oceans Residency at Kohl Children’s Museum in Chicago, USA, and was the winner of the ImpACT Award for Visual Artist in 2016 from the Arts & Culture Trust of South Africa.