Thabang Lehobye

Thabang Lehobye is a Visual Artist, Illustrator and a Head of Design at FCB Africa. He completed a three-year Printmaking program in 2004 at the Artist Proof Studio. 

(APS), a community-based Printmaking centre in Newtown. Thabang graduated with a Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Johannesburg and studied Creative Brand Communication at Vega, sponsored by William Kentridge. The same year he was awarded a Loeries Gold Craft for his short animated film “inside the box”.

He received a scholarship funded by Johnson and Johnson to attend The Bauen Youth Leader Camp in Wyoming, USA. A youth camp that looks at how the arts can positively address social issues. Thabang’s works explore Johannesburg’s inner city as a subject. A constant physical space with its ever-changing inhabitants. He experiments with various stop-motion animation techniques using acrylics and charcoal.

Thabang has recently been Awarded Thami Mnyele Art Prize for 2021. He has also been part of various collaborative exhibitions, including “The after Hours exhibition in Norway, Turbine Art Fair, Artists Proof Studio annual and more. He has received mixed visual arts and design awards, including Sasol New signatures Finalists, WPP’s Wipped Cream Award, Loeries Golds, Silvers, Pendorings Awards, One Show Awards and a D and AD Wood pencil.

Artist Statement : Portals of migration

The work is part of an ongoing series exploring Joburg’s inner inhabitants and the city itself as the subject. The idea of a physical space being passed over different generations of migrants, like the Hillbrow Tower being passed as a baton, speaks of the diversity which makes Joburg such a unique place. A constant architectural cityscape froze in time and its ever-changing migrant population.  

I intend to challenge the viewer to step into the work to see themselves walk the streets. Joburg has a sense of magnetism; it lures you in. The city offers a refuge for seasonal movement in a time of lack when one seeks hope to better their life. Like many that come to Joburg, I also went to the city to improve myself. The city represents possibility and hope. Many migrate into the city to find themselves; a lot lose themselves. The miner’s story did not end when mines were decommissioned and abandoned; many are still digging for gold one way or the other.  

The composition in this series is open; it invites you in. A portal into the city. Spaces in these compositions seem void of any presence; the viewer becomes part of the subject. The artwork can be seen as a physical space — a place of refuge. The viewer becomes a migrant. 

Nationality: South Africa
Residence: Johannesburg
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