Shapes of our Stories

3rd Year Students


Ngobeni was born in 1982. He is an artist, sculptor and printmaker from Madadeni Village in Mpumalanga Province. Currently, he lives in Katlehong. From 2004 to 2007 he worked in Gold and Manganese mines. He studied basic visual art at Tsebo Visual Art School, Katlehong Art Centre in 2009. In 2010 he travelled to Butha–Buthe in Lesotho with fellow students from Katlehong Art Centre where he developed his wood sculpturing skills. Ben is a part time illustrator and has been commissioned to illustrate for school text books for grade 4 and 7 in the Zulu Vernacular. During his studies at Artist Proof he has worked at the Gallery as a general gallery assistant, and worked in Special Projects unit working on mural commissions for the corporate and private sector.



“Nkunzi ya Malavete” in Tsonga means Sacred Bull. It is the title for my body of work. The sacred bull represents both the Living and my Ancestors. In my work the bull is a metaphor for my Father who was a polygamist and a mine worker. My work celebrates his life and mourns his suicidal death. My work is a vehicle to communicate with him spiritually. The personification of my Father in the form of the bull highlights different facets of his life and personality; he was the sole provider for our big family, worked hard, provided us with protection, love and was strong and powerful.

In this body of work I illustrate the story of his life and his movement from his place of birth, to the mine and back to home to retire.  Each print is a visual chapter of his life and my tribute to my Father. The medium of etching requires patience and time and is similar to the patience and time my Father took to raise us. The steel etching plate bears the scars of time and labour  – as did my Father’s body and soul bear the scars from hard labour in the mine and separation from his family.


Tinyiko Maluri_Artist_Proof_Studio_3rd_year_studentBiography

Maluri was born in 1980, and has completed high school. He has always been passionate about the arts which lead him to the Artist Proof Studio and enrolled to study printmaking in 2013. Maluri has been involved in the Special Projects unit at the Artist Proof Studio and has gained experience working in the Gallery. In 2015 he was involved in the Family Court commission. He is currently completing his 3rd yr and has specialized in photolithography print medium. He plans to enrol for his fourth year in 2017 at the Artist Proof Studio in Johannesburg and pursue a career as an artist and print maker.


Artist Statement

“Nkondowa Ngwazi” – The footprint warrior

My body of work is influenced by the personal trauma I experienced when I was involved in a car accident. My memory and speech were severely affected by the accident. I had to learn to speak again. I have used my art to revisit the challenges I faced and to heal. Making the work has been a form of therapy for me and enabled me to move on. The title of my body of work “Nkondowa Ngwazi “(The Foot Print Warrior) and it reflects my strength to overcome my trauma and like a warrior to rise up once again and face challenges.

I have drawn different portraits of myself juxtaposing traditional African musical instruments into the features of my head.  The musical instruments are symbolic of sound and a metaphor for me learning to speak and make sounds again. Often my head is turned away from the viewer looking into the coloured ‘landscape’ searching for something to remember, but the landscape is empty. The intense colour hue behind the portraits also speaks of sound. The emptiness of the landscape format describes the alienation and isolation I experienced not being able to speak and remember.  I have used the print medium of photo lithography to transfer my original pencil and charcoal drawings into prints.

Boitumelo Gaotlhaelwe_Artist_Proof_Studio_3rd_year_studentBiography

Gaotlhaelwe was born in 1991, in the North West Province in Taung where Professor Raymond Dart made his historic discovery of the earliest skull of humankind. In 2009, Gaotlhaelwe enrolled in an art school in Taung Mmabana Institution where he completed a two year course in 2013 majoring in drawing and painting. Gaotlhaelwe then moved to Johannesburg searching for other art institutions to further his studies. In 2014, he started his print career at the Artist Proof Studio where he chose to specialise in the print medium of etching. He intends to enrol for this fourth year in 2017 at the Artist Proof Studio and pursue a career as a practicing visual artist.

Artist Statement

“When rust becomes gold”

My body of work is an excavation of my past and present family history. My family originates from the Cradle of Humankind. Until recently, I thought that I was the first born male in my family and was thereby given the duty to be responsible for the family. When I discovered I had an older half-brother I had to step down from this position. I was no longer the head of the family. As my father is a miner in the area, it would have been my duty to take his position on his retirement. All of these elements have influenced the focus my work.

The prints became my personal archaeological map. In a sense, the body of artwork is an excavation and process of unearthing and discovering my ancestry and family. The skull dominates my prints and is a metaphor for my family’s genealogy and humankind, tracing its origins to my place of birth Taung. I have included lines that map out the important areas of my discoveries. The prints are layered with the physical imprints and textures like a piece of discarded steel, similar to an artefact that contains historical information about a place, its people and time. The organic pattern adds a layer to the prints, like the layers of earth uncovered at an archaeological site. The rich ochre gold colour emphasise the importance of the discovery and is symbolic of the richness and personal wealth of my discoveries.

Cromwell Ngobeni_Artist_Proof_Studio_3rd_year_studentBiography

Ngobeni was born in Limpopo, Ribungwani in 1988. He matriculated in 2008 from Yingwani Ribungwani High School.  He is currently completing his 3rd yr at the Artist Proof Studio specialising in the print medium of etching for his final body of work. In 2015 Cromwell was  commissioned to produce  work the Fasken Martineau corporate print portfolio, and  participated in the 2015 Barclays ABSA L’ Atelier  competition. He was also selected for the 2015 Venda Art Competition. Ngobeni plans on completing his fourth year in 2017 at the Artist Proof Studio and becoming a full time artist. He has been supported by the Julie Miller Investment Art Institute.

Artist Statement

”Ku tlula ka mhala ku letela n’wana wale ndzeni”  is a Tsonga idiomatic phrase that means that as the impala jumps it teaches the child inside to leap as well, the phrase also suggests that whatever you do will be copied by the young ones.

When I was a child I was continuously being bullied. In order to protect myself, my mother taught me how to fight. Throughout my life, fighting became a huge part of who I was and it turned me into someone who was unable to control my emotions without resorting to violence.

I draw on these experiences and use this body of work as a process of catharsis in reassessing the way I was raised as minor. I believe that whatever we do as adults, will be repeated by our children. I am trying to change this cycle through this body of work. I use pen on paper, charcoal, ink, watercolour and etching to communicate my emotions. Through self-portraiture I capture different phases of my emotions and transfer these images onto etching plates.

I also use my body in various poses and gestures that display my tangled emotions. The line work used to create aspects of my body image when caught in conflict. The medium of etching expresses and reflects the physical degree of my emotions on steel which is transferred onto paper. These tangled lines are a metaphor for the inner turmoil of my emotions. As I developed the body of work over the year, the pose and gesture of my body and face became more passive and less aggressive. The making of this work was a cathartic process.

Precious Mahapa_Artist_Proof_Studio_3rd_year_studentBiography

Mahapa was born in 1992 in Soweto, Johannesburg.  In 2012 she obtained a City and Guilds certificate from the Central Johannesburg Collage. She then enrolled at the Artist Proof Studio in 2013 to study printmaking and is currently completing 3rd year, specializing in the print medium of screen printing. Mahapa plans to enroll for her fourth year in 2017 at the Artist Proof Studio in Johannesburg and pursue a career in the arts.

Artist Statement

My body of work is influenced by my journey searching for a place I can call ‘HOME’. I have made a series of nests that are a metaphor for home. The nest is a protective structure and extremely fragile. In my work the nest is in a state of unravelling and falling apart, or being built up. The threads that build the nest are also shredded pages of my journal. My journal contains my intimate thoughts that cannot be read. The layering of the nest is an attempt to rebuild a strong structure and make a permanent home that I feel I do not have.

Zamani xaba_Artist_Proof_Studio_3rd_year_studentBiography

Zamani Xaba was born in 1980 in Durban in Umlazi Township. Xaba attended Saturday art classes at the Durban Institute of Technology during high school. In 2005 he obtained his diploma in Art & Design from Ekurhuleni East College.

He has participated in group shows in 2001 including Abelumb “Untold tales of magic’, which was held at the Durban Art Gallery Heritage Day Exhibition held annually. In 2014 he participated in the 30/30 Ekurhuleni group exhibition held at the Springs Art Gallery.

Xaba has also worked as a freelance cartoonist for the following publications: University of Johannesburg online registration, a regional newspaper Umafrika in Kwa-Zulu Natal and the Sowetan newspaper. He has been involved in a commission with Shanduka Beverages. In 2012 he enrolled at the Artist Proof Studio to study printmaking. He is currently completing his 3rd yr and has specialised in photolithography print medium. He plans to enroll for his fourth year in 2017 at the Artist Proof Studio in Johannesburg and pursue a career as an artist and print maker.

Artist Statement

My work deals with nostalgia and revisits our history and my memories. In my work I recall the days when I was growing up during the 80’s when the apartheid regime was the order of the day. My images depict the events that I saw and experienced during that time. I talk about these events because I stayed in a village which was affected by the civil war due to apartheid regime.  I also talk about the good times that we had during the oppression. I use old family photographs that show people coming together to party. It was an escape to the brutality of apartheid. In making work about the past we can try to understand the present day.

Thandiwe Khumalo_Artist_Proof_Studio_3rd_year_studentBiography

Khumalo was born in 1989 in the east side of Johannesburg in the township called Thokoza, and matriculated in 2011. She has always been passionate about art. After leaving high school she went to study printmaking at the Artist Proof Studio. In 2015 she was in a group show at the ABSA Art Gallery in collaboration with the Artist Proof Studio. Thandiwe has assisted in the Gallery with packaging artworks. She is currently specialising in the print medium of photo lithography. Khumalo plans to enroll for her fourth year in 2017 at the Artist Proof Studio in Johannesburg and pursue a career in the arts.


Artist Statement

My body of work is directed by childhood memories and the absence of a bond and relationship with my mother. In my works I have attempted to recreate my own memories. I establish a connection with my mother by reassembling family photographs of us together on the same page. I have included embossed objects that are personal. I have left a physical imprint on the paper as evidence of these ‘new memories’. The print medium of photo lithography allows me to reproduce original family photographs and rearrange them into new photographic images. The element of repetition has decorative and feminine qualities, similar to fabric patterns found in the home. These elements are included in the works to try to make ‘real’ something that was never there. This enables me to be in control of my memories.

This is my attempt to connect with my mother and console myself.

Justice Mathonisi_Artist_Proof_Studio_3rd_year_studentBiography

Mathonsi was born in 1987 in Soweto. He moved to the Venda in 1990 to Ribugwani in the Limpopo. He completed his high school education in Akani High School. In 2011 he moved to Johannesburg and enrolled at Intec Collage to study Architecture. In 2012 Mathoni enrolled at the Artist Proof Studio to study printmaking. He has specialised in lino reduction. In 2017 he plans to enrol for his fourth year at the Artist Proof Studio in Johannesburg and pursue a career as an artist and printmaker.

Artist Statement

My body of work pays a tribute and homage to the many women who raised me. I grew up in a rural area called Ribugwani in Limpopo. I was raised by the elderly women in my community who became my grandmothers. Under their guidance they taught me about Tsonga values and culture and how to be a Man.

The body of work consists of large scale portraits of these individual women to   emphasise their importance in my life and within the community. My portraits are very detailed and show the elements of time, age, history and knowledge evident in the lines of their faces. The large portraits confront the viewer to acknowledge the huge role these woman play in raising children, which is often not recognised in our society. They are humble woman elevated to an important status through my mark making and the pattern pays homage to my Tsonga roots. I see this body of work as a record of my family tree.

Mamorena Malakoane_Artist_Proof_Studio_3rd_year_studentBiography

Malakoane was born 1989, in Johannesburg Soweto. In 2012 she completed her first year in Fine Arts at Funda Community Center. In 2013 she enrolled at Artist Proof Studio. She has specialised in the print mediums of photo lithography, etching and dry point. She intends to enroll for her fourth year in 2017 at the Artist Proof Studio and pursue a career in art.

Artist Statement

I have approached my body of work as a film director. From the film-documentary, I selected stills as scenes to tell a narrative that contains hidden secrets. Each frame gives the viewer a setting to a narrative that is not clear. The spaces focus on an event that happened and have an element of truth.

My works are a reflection of events that took place in my home that altered my physical and mental space. I present the viewer with a narrative of emptiness with a few obvious clues to the story.  The images provide scenarios that the viewer can interpret for themselves. I have juxtaposed the photographic images with drawn images to emphasise the contrast between the documentation and the ‘created’ mark. The titles of the work and my editing of my personal story will direct the viewer to their own narrative and interpretation of my work.

Victor Kuster_Artist_Proof_Studio_3rd_year_studentBiography

Kuster was born in 1993 in Johannesburg. He grew up in the Eastern Cape. He lives and works around Johannesburg. He has participated in several community art projects throughout his life. He had his first established group exhibitions at Pretoria Art Museum in 2015 and 2016. He was selected as a finalist for the Sasol New signatures finalist in 2016 and won the EST AFRICA SPAZA art competition award. He is currently completing his 3rd year at Artist Proof Studio. He has participated and printed numerous commissions for APS including gift prints for Fasken Martineau and Rand Merchant Bank.

Artist Statement

My work addresses social issues based on my memories. My surreal compositions include self-portraits, random figures, and dynamic landscapes from rural to cityscapes.

My current work tries to analyse people from a psychological perspective. My journey from childhood was very hazardous. I was constantly moving from place to place. I was confronted by many unusual people, many of whom I got to know intimately as well as embracing my desire to be an artist, I had a deep desire to be a doctor when I grew up.

Neurofibromatosis manifests as tumours which spread over the entire body. My cousin was struck with this incurable disease. From 11 years old I watched him be overtaken by these hideous tumours. I tried in vain to get help, there was none. It impacted so unfairly not only on his life but on mine too. I needed desperately to express my horror at what had befallen him. He was so innocent in the face of this terrible reality.

I combine warm and cool monochrome colours. I chose yellow line to symbolise that the disease can be transmitted. My use of a magnifying glass expresses the hostile universe. The work is a combination of printmaking and other mediums. I have devised a unique method of working from dark to light. The stippling technique in the etchings is controlled to take your eye on a journey from the rural to the city reality.