South Africa: Contemporary Artist Thabang Lehobye Captures the City in Strokes of Charcoal


In this series, we talk to artists, creatives, designers and musicians about their work, their inspiration and the challenges they might be facing in today's different reality.

At first, the landscape seems grim, dark even, strokes of charcoal - there, thick on the paper, here slightly lighter - the contrast immediate, impossible to escape or avoid. But that is the intention, drawing the viewer into the picture, a fleeting moment that says so much about who we are in modern South Africa. And then, like an anomaly - or a surprise - the butterflies appear - white, tiny, many - cutting through the charcoal, like bright beams of light trying to come through the darkness. Grace even.

'Dirurubele' by Thabang Lehobye 'Dirurubele' by Thabang Lehobye

Thabang Lehobye's work rummages through the city of Johannesburg: Jeppe on a sunny day, the orange facades of Loveday Street, Ghandi Square's business. But beyond the urban landscapes, the wonder is in the detail: a pigeon taking off at Ghandi Square; a stack of check bags in front of the Ponte Tower - simply captioned "Chequered connections. Bags full of dreams"; a child on the way to school; taxis and cars parked randomly in downtown...

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