David Koloane - Mgodoyi I
Mgodoyi I
single colour lithograph
56 x 76 cm
Edition 20
David Koloane - Mgodoyi II
Mgodoyi II
two colour lithograph
76 x 56 cm
Edition 20
David Koloane - Mgodoyi III
Mgodoyi III
five colour lithograph
56 x 76 cm
Edition 20

The first democratic elections in South Africa were held in 1994. This was made possible by the peaceful handover of power that was negotiated at CODESA. The Mgodoyi Series reflects Koloane's thoughts around the negotiations. Mgodoyi is an insulting Zulu term for dog. In these prints mongrel dogs maul each other. It is not clear which is the victor or whether they are in fact playing and not fighting. These are the ambiguities that Koloane examines in the prints.


Celebration (1998)

David Koloane - Celebration
six colour lithograph
41.7 x 68.3 cm
Edition 40

Celebration joyfully reflects a Zionist prayer meeting. The Zionist church in South Africa is an "indigenous" Black church that combines Christianity with elements of traditional African belief systems. It is the largest Church in the country and on weekends one often sees members of the church dressed in their colourful outfits on the way to religious gatherings which are normally held outdoors.

Johannesburg Series (2000)

David Koloane - Mirror
six colour lithograph
38 x 51 cm
Edition 30
David Koloane - Three Sisters
Three Sisters
seven colour lithograph
38 x 51 cm
Editon 30

In Mirror and Three Sisters Koloane depicts the women who work the streets of inner city Johannesburg. These sex workers line the main streets in the city after dark. Koloane portrays them in a sympathetic way without revealing who the real person is behind the veneer of make-up and hairstyles.


Koloane recently exhibited (June 2003) at the Goodman Gallery. His solo show, titled 'Rituals', showcased more than ten years worth work, including Koloane's recent assemblage pieces. Sculptural paintings created in mixed media, usually discarded objects collected by the artist, emerging critic Brenton Maart characterised the artist's Voice box piece as "devoid of agency and powerful, abject and strengthened by ritualistic mediation". Using a variety of packaging materials (boxes, sealing wax, packing tape) to construct his works, Koloane revealed his working materials to be more than just that. According to Maart, they serve to interrogate the packaging of black artists, the false notions of modernism/s which circumscribe their output, the dialectic between inside and outside, the dichotomy of centre and periphery.

'Rituals' is not Koloane's first solo show at the Goodman Gallery, the artist showing there almost annually since 1997. Other prominent recent engagements include a show at the National Art Gallery of Malaysia, as well as his participation on 'Liberated Voices' (2000) at New York's Museum of African Art.

Tower(1999), a mixed media piece characteristic of this period in his career, is an expressionistic portrait of the Hillbrow Tower. The work perfectly blends Koloane's unrestrained appreciation for colour with a more subtle sense of gloom, although Koloane avers that the city is most "magical" at night. In terms of its subject matter, Tower is also a work that best articulates Koloane's constant fascination with Johannesburg as a beacon of hope.

In 1995, Koloane was asked to curate the South African section of 'Seven Stories About Modern Art In Africa'. Unlike the hit and miss Johannesburg Biennale of the same year, Koloane's show was tightly honed. Koloane's selection evidenced a clear-sighted awareness of the socio-political context in which South African artists operates. "The pervasive role played by politics in the existence of the South African populace affects both victims and perpetrators alike, and therefore every sphere of life," he wrote in the accompanying catalogue.

The early 1990s were quite significant for Koloane, not only because of the wider political context. Koloane's involvement with Robert Loder, a London-based art collector, and his Triangle International Workshop in Zimbabwe would eventually lead to the formation of The Bag Factory studios, in 1991. Not always appreciated for what it offers, the space is intimately associated with the careers of Pat Mautloa, Sam Nhlengethwa, Joachim Schonfeldt and Mark Attwood, if not a whole generation of Johannesburg-based artists - black and white.

Between 1961 and 1972, Louis Maqhubela guided Koloane's early development, before leaving South Africa for Europe to further his own career. From 1974 to 1977, Koloane attended art classes at the Bill Ainslie Studios. His professional turning point came in 1975 when he held his first exhibition with Michael Zondi, already an established sculptor in his own right. Two years later Koloane opened the FUBA (Federated Union of Black Artists) gallery in the bustling centre of cultural protest, Johannesburg's Market Theatre precinct. In 1983, Koloane received an invitation by the Triangle International Artists Workshop to visit New York. The experience of working together with artists from different nationalities was to have a profound effect on the artist, and would ultimately lead to the formation of The Bag Factory studios, with Robert Loder.

When not tinkering about his studio (#3) in Minaar Street, Koloane must attend to the administration of The Bag Factory studios while entertaining the usual retinue of international curators. As with many jobbing artists in South Africa he must split his allegiances between his own work and the responsibilities of writing for the occasional exhibition catalogue or making speaker's notes for engagements both locally and abroad. He is also a board member of the National Arts Council of SA.


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David KoloaneBORN 5 June 1938, Alexandra, South Africa


Diploma in Museum Studies, University of London


2002 Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg; National Art Gallery of Malaysia

2000 Liberated Voices', Museum of African Art, New York, USA

1993 'Art from South Africa', Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, UK
'The Neglected Tradition', Johannesburg Art Gallery Standard Bank National Drawing Competition
Pachipamwe International Artists Workshop, Zimbabwe National Gallery, Harare, Zimbabwe
'Contemporary Black Artists', Academy Art Gallery, Paris, France
Vita Art Now, Johannesburg Art Gallery
Fuba Gallery, with Ben Ntsusha, Johannesburg
Gallery 198, with Dumile Feni and Louis Maqhubela, London, England

1992 South African Mural exhibition, I.C.A. Gallery, London, UK

1982 'Art towards social development', National Gallery and Museum, Gaborone, Botswana
Bill Ainslie Studios, Gallery, JHB
Gallery 101, Johannesburg

1978 Black Expo '78, Johannesburg


Larry Poons Collection, New York

Robert Loder Collection, London

Anthony Caro Collection, London

Franka Severin Collection

Johannesburg Art Gallery

South African National Gallery, Cape Town

Botswana National Museum and Gallery Gaborone

South African Higher Education Trust Collection, Jhb

BMW Collection, Germany

Department of Education and Training, Pretoria; and numerous private collections in South Africa and abroad.


Veronique Tadjo, David Koloane: Taxi 006. David Krut Publishing: Johannesburg, 2002

Esme Berman, Painting in South Africa. Southern Book Publishers, Halfway House, 1993, p. 363.

Frank Herreman and M. D'amato, Liberated Voices: Contemporary Art from South Africa. The Museum of African Art: New York, 1999, p.27.

Andre Magnin and Jacques Soulillou, Contemporary Art of Africa. Thames and Hudson: New York, 1996, pp. 155 - 156 and p. 158.

Sue Williamson and Ashraf Jamal, Art in South Africa: The Future Present. David Philip Publishers: Claremont, 1996, pp. 134 - 139.

Clementine Deliss (ed.), Seven Stories About Modern Art In Africa. Flammarion: Paris, 1995, pp. 140 - 156 and pp. 261 - 265 (in conversation with Ivor Powell).








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