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Lazi Mathebula pays homage to legacy of a jovial Sophiatown

Published Sep 10, 2023


The exhibition offers a poignant exploration of the bygone era's renaissance, encapsulating its essence through the innovative use of paper as a primary medium.

Mathebula's prowess comes to life in ‘’Bekumnandi Sisonke,’’ a collection that delves deep into the heart and soul of Sophiatown, an iconic and historically significant neighbourhood.

The exhibition captures the spirit of the era, celebrating its artistic diversity, cultural richness, and indomitable unity of community.

The artist masterfully employs paper as his chosen canvas, using it to meticulously to portray the figures, symbols, and textures that defined Sophiatown.

Through this unique medium, Mathebula not only pays homage to the past but also crafts a dialogue between history and the present. The fragility of paper serves as a poignant metaphor for the impermanence of the era itself, reflecting its fleeting nature.

As visitors engage with Mathebula's works, they will find themselves immersed in the nostalgic beauty of the unbridled hope that Sophiatown represented instead of limiting the narrative to its melancholic memory.

The paper, expertly manipulated by the artist's hand, captures the essence of music, culture, and community instead of the memory of displacement, interruption, and decay.

Mathebula is an accomplished artist who grew up in Alexandra Township in Johannesburg. He is known for his innovative use of materials and deep exploration of cultural themes.

His work also includes a 2022 collaboration with MTN for Mandela Day, where he tutored up and coming artists in honour of Nelson Mandela.

“I’m very passionate about art. I’ve always been interested in giving people opportunities to grow. I like to give them a chance to be free. And art is one medium that allows you to be free,” he told IOL regarding the activity.

His previous exhibitions have garnered critical acclaim for their emotional resonance, thought-provoking narratives and innovative use of materials.

‘’Bekumnandi Sisonke’’ encourages art lovers, history fans, and the culturally curious to see Sophiatown through a contemporary viewpoint. The legacy of Sophiatown is revitalised through a fusion of art and history.

Mathebula's intricate craftsmanship and emotional depth promise a transformative encounter with history and art. This exhibition is a testament to the timelessness of creativity and the enduring resonance of cultural heritage.

Lazi Mathebula's ‘’Bekumnandi Sisonke’’ will be on display at Artivist, in Braamfontein, from 9 Sep 2023 to 28 Sep 2023. For more information, please visit [email protected]