The township of Newclare near Johannesburg was the birthplace of boycotts, civil turbulence and resistance artists like Vincent Baloyi, Lucas Seage, Fikile Magadledla and – our featured artist, Nat Mokgosi (b. 1946).
After completing high school, Mokgosi played guitar (with legendary skill!) for ‘Ricky and the Diamonds’ – but decided the following year, to enroll at the Johannesburg’s Jubilee Art Centre where he studied under Bill Hart and Ezrom Legae, whose powerful animist iconography was adopted and reinterpreted by Mokgosi when he fused the animism Biblical themes, Greek mythology and African legends.
As with Julian Motau, Judith Mason‘s stylistic method of cross-hatching and strong lyricism of line is also visible in Mokgosi’s hand across paper. On the other hand, it was Bill Hart who imparted to Mokgosi just how powerfully expressive colour can be – whether in its infinite potential to create endless colour nuances, or the passionate play between light and dark contrasts.
As a proudly South African global citizen, Mokgosi has lived, worked and exhibited in both South Africa and abroad, but now resides permanently in Soweto, continuing to practice as a fine artist.