Lebohang Goge was born in Lesotho and spent in his early childhood in the country’s rural areas. His family moved to Johannesburg in later years, and he has lived and worked in the city for most of his life; within the street arts scene, and as a professional illustrator and fine artist.
Goge’s work explores the weird and often violent class divide that still dominates South Africa.
His many years working within the world of graffiti, urban culture and street arts forms the basis of calculatingly wildly abstract oil paintings that evoke the challenge and opportunity of city life. His charcoal sketches are more literal and thematically grotesque, offering the viewer a blur of disturbing comic / tragic imagery.
All of Goge’s work assumes a South Africa context – a bizarre society where social development is constitutionally enshrined and much discussed, yet clearly absent from the lives of ordinary people. Despite all the development verbiage, large parts of working South Africa society remain financially challenged, under resourced in terms of social services and fundamentally poor. Living in Mzansi is a personal, private hustle – it’s up to the individual to find access to a quasi-feudal source of revenue and commercial influence. The wild, grotesque, comic and angry atmosphere of Goge’s work speaks to this reality.
A graduate of the National School of Arts, Goge works as a freelance illustrator on corporate projects in addition to developing his art career. He has worked on illustration projects for the likes of Anglo / Coal / BHP Blliton and Innovation Group and has constructed and illustrated TV show backdrops for TV production companies. He has performed as a live artist for the UNISA Mandela Day celebration and for African Bank at its culture exchange day – developing live graffiti art. His art also features in the T-Systems Cape Town office complex.
Goge has held two solo exhibitions at Newtown’s Unity Gallery: Tracks (2008) and Lucid (2010). He also held a solo exhibition, Colonial Beasts and Wizards, at the Afrikan Freedom Station, in 2014. In addition, he has always been an active member of the city’s urban youth community, participating as a Graffiti artist at the Back To the City festival and at youth events in the townships surrounding Johannesburg. His regular activity in the local arts scene has seen him collaborate with many contemporary urban artists, including Robyn Field, Flip Hattingh, Kgafela oa Magogodi, Andrew Miller, Steve Kwena Mokwena and many others. He also works regularly with local youth at the Westbury Community centre, where he teaches art.
Goge’s most recent work addresses issues of context and placement. While maintaining his established use of powerful abstract colour and the obvious urban signs and references, his new work also refers back to his traditional rural roots, through the use of African cows amidst the swirls and colour. Metaphorically, this treatment questions the class divide often evident in the 21st century Johannesburg arts scene. Inherent in this focus is an attempt to raise the issue of the relationship of money to art – and the power of capital to separate groups of artists who might otherwise be able to interact, personally and creatively.
Showing all 7 results