Lebohang Sithole was born 1989 on the East Rand, north-east of Johannesburg, where he still lives. After five years of studying professional printmaking, he had his first solo exhibition, entitled ‘Intathakusa’ (‘Before the Sun Rises’) in 2016.
While he’s predominantly known for his printmaking, Lebohang also works in other mediums, including soft pastels, acrylics and charcoal. In his printmaking, he combines drypoint with monoprint to create unique prints.
His subject matter is inspired by his grandfather, who was a musician. “My grandfather was the lead singer and organist for the Amajembe Jazz Band and I was born the same day he died. Almost everything that my grandfather did during his lifetime is closely paralleled with the things that I do in my life,” he explains. “When I visit my grandfather’s house I get the feeling I have lived there, when I touch his instruments, I feel I have played them, when I look at his photograph, I see myself. Looking at my grandfather’s strength and belief in who he was has encouraged me as an artist. I believe that one person can inherit something special from a family member and be recognised as that person. My work is dedicated to him.”
Children are also a strong theme in Lebohang’s work. “I like to explore images of children. In every family, country and race that a child is born into, the environment influences the development of that child, and determines who he or she becomes. Children are a symbol of growth, resulting in a defining perspective of ‘I am what I am because I am determined by the way I have grown up’.”