Justice Mathonsi’s work explores the lives of the people who raised him, showing the connection between his life and his relatives. Born in Soweto in 1987 but raised in rural Limpopo, he specialises in lino reduction and works as an artist and printmaker.
“My body of work pays homage to the many women who raised me,” he says. “I grew up in a rural area called Ribugwani in Limpopo. I was raised by the elderly women in my community who became my grandmothers. Under their guidance, I learned about Tsonga values and culture and how to be a man.”
“My body of work consists of large-scale portraits of these individual women to emphasise their importance in my life and within the community. My portraits are very detailed and show the elements of time, age, history and knowledge evident in the lines of their faces. The large portraits confront the viewer to acknowledge the huge role these women play in raising children, which is often not recognised in our society. They are humble women elevated to an important status through my mark making, and the pattern pays homage to my Tsonga roots. I see this body of work as a record of my family tree.”