Siyabonga Sikosana was born in Edendale near Pietermaritzburg. His talent was nurtured by his high school teachers and he would weekly attend art classes at the Tatham Art Gallery.
He studied Textile Design and Technology at the Durban Institute of Technology. His constant attendance at the Tatham Art Gallery’s art classes led to financial support for his studies. While freelance illustrating and doing portraits, he illustrated a number of books. This was followed by some commissions, including murals for government and private business.
Sikosana’s works, although brightly painted, contain some dark elements. His paintings of township life, which has not changed much since the political changes of 1994, contain socio-economical statements fused with humor and irony, as observed in one painting where electricity poles are placed neatly in rows, but have no wires, suggesting that there is no electricity despite political promises of a better life for all made to the people. They may be seen to question the self-help projects and government initiatives that never get off the ground or are vandalized by the community. This underlying comment on life in the township is often portrayed in minute detail, such as takkies strung over electric wires to indicate that dagga and other drugs are for sale there. Some works carry more obvious signs of the misery and poverty that are contributing factors to crime, substance abuse and prostitution, as people struggle to survive.
Sikosana has participated in numerous group exhibitions and in 2004, had his first solo exhibition at the Tatham Art Gallery. He was chosen KwaZulu-Natal Tourism to represent South Africa in an Art in the Park exhibition in New Zealand.
Visit Siyabonga in his home studio by appointment only, please.
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