Meet the artist - Nkoali Nawa
Nkoali Nawa (b.1965) started his working life in the mines of Welkom, where he grew up. The mining industry is indelibly linked to South Africa's sociopolitical history, driving the development of towns and cities, and the sometimes exploitative & dehumanising practices tied to it. Working at the coalface of this industry and having first-hand experience of it has shaped Nawa's outlook as an artist. Nawa always has a story in mind - in this instance, the challenges he noticed (and faced) in the informal settlements of Mfuleni, where he lived for some time with his son. 𝘾𝙝𝙖𝙡𝙡𝙚𝙣𝙜𝙚𝙨 presents the viewer with ten charcoal drawings that reference identity, belonging and the painful complexity of navigating cultural differences. What makes his drawing so compelling is that they appear to offer a candid glimpse of reality. Writer Kolodi Senong describes Nawa’s art as social reportage and suggests it is valuable as an expression of the black experience in South Africa. His monochromatic language, which charcoal allows, sets a sombre tone. His art recalls the work of Kentridge and Diane Victor, another prominent South African associated with gritty realism. He is also inspired by western artists such as Goya, Daumier and Van Gogh, who showed an interest in capturing the lives of the veritable person in the street.