Photography by Jamal Nxedlana

Banele Khoza – The Painter of Love

Banele Khoza’s figurative abstraction depicts colourful portraits of the male nude—obscure ghostly figures in a palette of mostly pink and blue. The acrylic pigments are combined and blurred together in fervent brushstrokes that seem to be applied with acute sensitivity, but also a sense of the uninhibited. They bleed and drip into empty spaces, while pencil sketch marks reveal compositional form.

Artist, curator and lover Banele Khoza was creative from the outset. As he explains to me during our interview, “I think as Picasso says everyone is an artist but it’s like how do you stay an artist?” He explains that at the age of 4 his expression began developing and he has been building on his dreams ever since.

“…wherever I am present I’m always consuming and it ends up commenting on my conscious state,” he explains. Inspiration is seen as taken from unusual sources such as food and fashion, “I am always looking outside art to create art.”

Sharing more about how emotion and self-care play into his influences Banele shares that a show that is currently in the works took its inspiration from a simple gesture to the self. It all began through the act of buying flowers for himself. “That’s been a practice for 5 years and when I stopped I started feeling a shift in my mood. And then I started the practice again and then I started realising a tulip can change an entire feeling and now I’m curating a show that’s just going to have an installation of flowers and if I hadn’t gone through that, that show would not exist.”

Other facets of creativity lend themselves in the form of romantic relationships which allows him to comment on the experience through his calculated yet tender brush strokes – a stroke of love; a comment on love. “My practice is about love. I’m continually speaking about love even when I think I’m not. It’s all about love.”

Recent collaborative projects include BKhz’s ‘Process’ a show which included the artists Lady SkollieMashudu NevhutaluChris SoalSharon MosesAllen LaingKe Neil WeXiaoCheng HuTatenda Chidora and Matt Hazell.

Banele was born in Hlatikulu, Swaziland and moved to South Africa in 2008 for school. Later he studied at LISOF for a year which was followed by a National Diploma in Fine Art at TUT as well as a BTech completed in 2015. Banele Khoza is one of the spotlighted artists for the Miller Genuine Draft Art and Design series.

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