Thokozani Madonsela was born on the 28th of February 1988 in Daggakraal – Mpumalanga, South Africa. Madonsela graduated from Artist Proof Studio, where he obtained a qualification in printmaking.

In describing his work Madonsela says, “My work has been most recognisable for its iconic nude, faceless, often laughing figures. This has been, in my opinion, a bold statement I have used to depict neutrality in human identity. Through these figures, one cannot tell what gender, economic status or age the people I represent are.

It is evident in his work that Madonsela is influenced by his personal experiences and emotions, often exploring themes of identity, belonging, and social justice. By blending traditional mark making techniques with socio-political perspectives, Madonsela creates artworks that not only suggests positive wellbeing and also challenges societal norms and perceptions.

Thokozani Madonsela handcolouring print at Artist Proof Studio.

Madonsela adds that, “This has allowed everyone who looks at my work to take it as personally as they see fit, seeing themselves through the experiences of the figures on the surface.”  He continues to say that in his body of work for 2024 the subject matter will not veer far from his iconic figures. “This body of work will tell everyday relatable stories of people in the cities and other environments we reside in. With the use of various metaphors, I wish to depict lives from serval walks of life,” says Madonsela.

LEFT: Thokozane Madonsela – Oska Ntsheba wa Nnyatsa II – Linocut – 166.5cm x 88.5cm – 2023 – Archive Proof
RIGHT: Oska Ntsheba wa Nnyatsa I, Linocut, 166.5cm x 88.5cm, 2023, Archive proof

Bokang and Hlelo printing Madonsela print at Artist Proof Studio

Thokozani Madonsela’s artistic style has been influenced by a myriad of factors that are rooted in his South African heritage. Growing up in a country rich in diverse cultures and traditions, Madonsela draws inspiration from the vibrant colours, patterns, and textures that surround him. His artwork will continue to reflect the resilience and strength of African people, as well as their deep connection to nature and spirituality.

In his forthcoming work, Madonsela seeks to inspire others and foster a sense of pride in African culture and heritage. Highlighting a focused growth in these 5 areas:

Exploration of Mediums and Techniques: With an interest in exploring further into mixed media, or incorporating unconventional materials. He says, “My willingness to innovate will contribute to the evolution of my work.”
Deepening Conceptual Depth:I look forward to engaging more complex narratives, drawing from personal experiences and broader societal contexts to create art that resonates on multiple levels with viewers,” describes Madonsela.
International Recognition:I’d like to open up opportunities to exhibit my art with more galleries in Africa and around the world,” says Madonsela, with the hopes that it further amplifies the impact and influence in his work.
Collaborations:I want to explore more opportunities to collaborate and participate in residencies. I believe that leveraging my platform and artistic talents, I can play a pivotal role in growing my art to the broader African community and beyond,” explains Madonsela.
Innovation:My dedication to celebrating African culture and heritage leads me to explore innovative ways of preserving and reinterpreting traditional art forms. As I grow in my artmaking, I want to draw inspiration from indigenous practices and aesthetics while infusing them with my interpretation of contemporary emotional responses,” says Madonsela.

In most cases, Madonsela draws inspiration from his own experiences growing up in South Africa, as well the experiences of others depicted in his recognisable anonymous characters. As he grows in his art practice, Madonsela meets different individuals from other parts of the world, particularly Africa, people share how they sometimes see themselves or recognisable scenarios in his work. This notion of inviting viewers to engage with both the aesthetic beauty and the deeper layers of meaning within each creation, has given the necessary impetus to share more experiences and stories of people. Madonsela aims to provoke meaningful conversations and spark change within the art community and beyond. His dedication to his craft and unwavering commitment to authenticity are sure to solidify his place as a prominent figure in the contemporary art scene for years to come.

LEFT: Young Fella, Monotype, 62cm x 35cm, 2023.
RIGHT: Love Portrait, Monotype, 62cm x 48cm, 2023

LEFT: Thokozane Madonsela – Giving Thanks – Monotype – 62cm x 35cm – 2023
RIGHT: On the couch, Monotype, 62cm x 35cm, 2023.

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