Neo Matloga – works on canvas
I think that it is a natural feeling for an artist to feel nostalgic of where they come from, especially once outside their place of birth. For the show “MOLATELO”, I bring into existence fragments of incredible happiness from my own upbringing, and poetic moments I remember growing up in a Post-Mandela era. As the legacy of Apartheid persists, there are undoubtedly, still social issues such as crime and moral degradation but none of these have determined the concept of life in its entirety. The show does not suggest that all black families were/are happy in the same way. The emphasis is on reflecting on the other side of the coin – considering the political landscape of the country – people never stop being moral agents.
In my latest body of work, my affection for art, theatre, music and literature is evident. The paintings are set in my parent’s home in Mamaila, Limpopo, where one experiences certain objects like the record player, the enamel plates and a chicken made from porcelain. I try to make sense of this nostalgic feeling by collaging these objects – preserving and archiving the existing circumstances. “Molatelo” is my mother’s name – her name came to my mind when I started envisioning the main character as a woman (a subject who features in most of the paintings), therefore, it became an ideal title for the show.
Neo Matloga was born in Mamaila, a small village in Limpopo in 1993 – a year before the dawn of the South African democracy. He is a representative of South Africa’s young generation of post 1994 artists. Influenced by his father’s understanding of art, “art should heal psychologically”. Matloga’s energy is projected by the youth in South Africa, he refuses to limit himself to a specific artistic medium. His paintings, drawings and collages explore the mythic power of Sophiatown in a Post-Mandela era.
After pursuing his studies in Visual Art, Matloga graduated from the University of Johannesburg in 2015, going on to complete a residency at the Bag Factory Atists’ Studio. He has participated in various exhibitions, both locally and internationally. At the age of 23, his work forms part of the collection of the City of Ekurhuleni, the South African Embassy in Washington DC as well as other private collections. Matloga currently lives and works in Amsterdam – Netherlands, where he is a resident artist at the prestigious De Ateliers.