Khehla Chepape Frans Makgato was born in 1988 in Pietersburg, now known as Polokwane, and grew up in Makotopong village, near Polokwane in Limpopo Province, South Africa. He now lives and works in Johannesburg. At a young age he had an opportunity to attend Saturday art classes in Polokwane, but these didn’t last long because his primary art teacher lost contact with the owner of the Art Centre due to its relocation. As a result, his love of art was put on hold for a while. In 2002 he went to Phomolong Senior Secondary where he matriculated in 2007. In 2009 he enrolled with Artist Proof Studio: a community based Printmaking Studio in Newtown, Johannesburg and I graduated from a three-year Professional Printmaking programme in 2011.
The concept of exploring and seeking to communicate the ‘busyness of Johannesburg’ has always fascinated me. Hearing about Johannesburg as a young boy in the rural villages was electrifying. My understanding about the term Johannesburg was infinitely ‘abstract’ as everyone from my upbringing had his or her own interpretations about the city even though they had never been there before.
In my recent work, I shifted my focus from the street life of the people in the city to depicting what Johannesburg is known for – the city of Mines. I look into the residue on the land after the miners have mined this land. I am fascinated by the Acid Mine Drainage issue which I interrogate using a Monotype printmaking technique to create more abstract impressions.
The images are resemblance of the individuality and uniqueness of each citizen of Johannesburg. The uncontrolled patterns signify the variety of purpose which has led many people to migrate to the city. The concept of drainage itself has a wide range of meaning and thus to me represents diverse socio-economic, cultural and religious identities. Uncontrolled patterns achieved in every monotype piece provide an intimate glimpse into a macabre life in the city.