A3E Artist Profile: Lebo Thoka

We are dedicated to bringing you talent from across the South African creative industry by providing a platform for emerging creatives to showcase their work to a wider audience. Driven by this dedication, we have put together a new initiative, the Artist Acceleration and Exposure Programme (A3E), which aims to upskill emerging artists across South Africa, offers a platform for talented artists to reach new markets, and helps them break into the art scene.

Lebo Thoka

Johannesburg-based Lebo Thoka, specialises in photography and visual arts. She identifies as a feminist, and further explores and incorporates this within her photographic work.

Thoka focuses on various motifs to raise awareness of the rampant issue of gender-based violence in South Africa, as well as the ever-increasing murders of women. She uses a constant juxtaposition of religious figures (which she draws from her own religious upbringing).

The artist employs her photographic work to explore the complexities of being a black, heterosexual, cis-gendered, middle class, able-bodied woman in patriarchal post-apartheid South Africa; she explores these complexities from a personal perspective and from a perspective of solidarity with many women in South Africa who are murdered or violated in the shadows of its young democracy.

Thoka’s latest series of work, titled “It is well”: An ode to Karabo, is inspired by Karabo Mokoena, a 22-year old young woman who was a victim of abuse and brutally murdered by her boyfriend.

“Like many women in South Africa, Karabo Mokoena had been failed by society and a justice system that does not give priority to the violence women are faced with on a daily basis, ” she says.

More of Thoka’s work can be viewed here.

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