The South African artist Khehla Chepape Makgato is having a good moment in the art world. Having studied fine arts, printmaking and journalism, he’s carved a niche for himself as a freelance arts writer and was also this year’s artist in residence during the Art Across Oceans Residency which took place between Joburg and Chicago.
In January 2015 he collaborated on a project with renowned South African artist William Kentridge. His most recent exhibition, ‘The Heroines Of Southern Africa’ – marks his fourth solo exhibition in four consecutive years. Currently running at The Market Theatre in Joburg, it started on the 5th of September and has been extended until the end of October. There will be an official artist’s walkabout on the 29th of September.
Makgato’s work seems to come from deep contemplation and a reverence for his subject matter. After a conversation with the Artistic Director at The Market Theatre, James Ngcobo, he was inspired to create a body of work that sought to celebrate the leadership of women in South Africa. His focus is on the female black leaders from the 18th century, such as the Rain Queen Modjadji, Mantatisi, the Tlokwa Queen, Nandi, Shaka Zulu’s mother, Nongqawuse and Nombanda – The Xhosa Prophetesses, Kgošigadi Sekhukhune, and Kgošigadi Moshoeshoe among others.
Makgato is also the founder and creative director at Samanthole Creative Projects and Workshop, which aims to provide art skills, encourage reading of poetry and literature and motivate the youth in rural communities of Limpopo and South Africa at large. His long-term goal is to develop a sustainable arts education centre to cater to rural youth. He is a patron of Khehla Chepape Makgato Reading Centre in Lebowakgomo, Limpopo province – the new reading initiative established by the principal of Ngwamorei Secondary School in honour of Chepape and his passion and dedication for rural community arts and literacy development. He is an ImpACT Award for Visual Arts finalist, an award from the Arts & Culture Trust. The winner will be announced on 14th October.