Tsholo "Splash" Motong lives in Soweto, South Africa.
Soweto is home to over 1.2 million black South Africans speaking Zulu, Xhosa, Sesotho, Setswana, Tshivenda, and many other local languages. Soweto was in the middle of the struggle against the South African white-minority apartheid in the 1970s. Soweto was to home to Nelson Mandela and Trevor Noah who described it in his book "Born a Crime".
Local scenes and people from Soweto inspire Tsholo's work.
Sometimes, he paints African healers and goddesses from the Zulu people of South Africa, who were called "witch doctors" by the Christian settlers.
Sometimes, it is the scenes in Soweto before local elections, with all the money thrown by the candidates to win over the locals.
Sometimes, his work is about the local entrepreneurs of Johannesburg (or "Jozi" as locals call it), street vendors with babies on their backs.
Sometimes, it is the local multi-generational gangsters who "started stealing chocolate bars as an 8-year toddler".
Tsholo tells their stories. And somehow turns them from regular people to colorful demigods.
But in addition to storytelling, Tsholo's medium is so uniquely African. For many of his paintings, he collects unique African fabrics from different parts of Africa and then creates fabric collages from them. His colorful fabric mosaic tells us a story of the rich and colorful history of South Africa.
See Tsholo "Splash" Motong's work in person at our opening reception on Saturday, August 5th.