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Themba Benedict Khumalo was born on the 16 February 1987 in Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa. Khumalo graduated from Artist Proof Studio in printmaking, where he obtained a Design Foundation Certificate. He went on to do a professional printmaking development course under the sponsorship of Pinpoint One, at Artist Proof Studio in 2009 where he was an intern in the silkscreen unit and special project team. Khumalo is interested in exploring different mediums, such as charcoal drawings and painting. He has been involved in a number of group exhibitions, commissions and special projects, such as painting murals in the Eastern Cape and being invited to exhibit in a group show at Isolate del Cinema festival in Rome, Italy.
Khumalo's work engages with issues that one faces in the dynamic and temperamental city of Johannesburg; the beauty as well as the challenges encountered on a daily basis. He also acknowledges the foundation and direction of home; "I am who I am because of my upbringing" say's Khumalo. He uses techniques such as etching, drypoint, and monoprint as they allow him to achieve strong, intense line, different effects, and textures. He can also get unexpected false bites, which to him represent the imitation of life, the fact you can not predict what is going to happen tomorrow.
My concept is based on my relationships with people. In my work, I explore feelings of connectivity and isolation. I am most comfortable in a designated private space. My biggest fear is rejection and loss. My attempt is to build trust and closer associations with others through my artwork.
There are never human figures in the images. However, electric poles, plugs, and cables are the subjects of all the works. These are metaphors for life, energy and movement. The subjects are seen in different contexts, all outside, in a city or landscape. This provides the context. The atmosphere is created by the sky.
I have a digital camera which I take with me wherever I go. I often document scenes between Johannesburg and Orange Farm. I take pictures of spaces and the sky at various times of the day. These images are used as a reference from which I develop charcoal drawings. Willow charcoal allows for manipulation of form and the blending of tones. These drawings are used as the starting point for the final printed images.
Etching is my chosen printing technique because it enables me to describe the range of tones which are present in the original charcoal drawings. Each work created is intended to capture and evoke a different mood and feeling.