SPEELMAN MAKWE MAHLANGU
(1958 - 2004)
Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Speelman Mahlangu (1958-2004), was known as one of the "Big Five" in the Soweto School of Art group. He studied both sculpture and painting at the renowned Katlehong Art Centre, which was established in 1977 and a place of learning for many notable South African artists including Mmakgabo Helen Sebidi, Martin Tose and Simon Masilo. The centre grew out of a collection of individual artists such as Morningstar Motaung, Stanley Nkosi, Napo Mokoena and Lucas Sithole.
Mahlangu’s imagery is distinctly African and his work often encompasses a dreamworld with its roots in Ndebele tribal myths. His iconography draws on traditional practices inspired by his grandfather, who introduced him to the legends and symbolism of animals and ancestor sacrifice. During his life, and following the end of apartheid, Mahlangu was profoundly interested in South Africa's "homecoming" to the African continent, and his work draws one into the realm of southern African icons of traditional life, depicted almost as hieroglyphics.
“My paintings incorporate symbols and patterns from Ndebele murals and Egyptian hieroglyphics,” said Mahlangu. They often describe things that one cannot see but can only feel. My themes include an exploration and spiritual, mythical ideas of the world to come. The role of music in African life and traditional rituals, African pots, human figures, calabashes and drums emerge from semi abstract shapes. A dream dreaming us.”
SPEELMAN MAHLANGU | FOREVER RIDING THE BULL | 7 - 29 OCTOBER, 2022 | REQUEST PORTFOLIO
2019 Legacy of a Gentle Man, Everard Read, Cape Town
2018 Opening exhibition of the Norval Foundation, Cape Town
2006 Retrospective, Everard Read, Johannesburg
2003 Solo Exhibition, Everard Read, Cape Town
2000 Solo Exhibition, Everard Read, Cape Town
1997 Solo Exhibition, Everard Read, Cape Town
1995 Commissioned to paint a 3m x 1,5m “mural” for Johannesburg International Airport
1991 Solo exhibition at the Botswana National Museum, Gaborone, Botswana
1990 Group exhibition at the Sanderling Gallery, “Afrika Now”
Three man exhibition at the Sanderling Gallery
Group exhibition at The Everard Read Gallery, “Town Country”
1982 Group exhibition in the Vaal Triangle, “Multiracial Art”
Solo exhibition, F.U.B.A. Gallery, Johannesburg
Group exhibition, Johannesburg, “Market Graphics”
Group exhibition, Southern Sun, Operation Hunger
Group exhibition, touring South Africa and West Germany, “BMW Tributaries”
Group exhibition, KwaZulu University, awarded first prize for sculpture
Solo exhibition at Design Animations, Johannesburg
Group exhibition, South African Association of Arts, Pretoria, “Volkskas Atelier”
Two-man exhibition at the Amadlozi Art Centre
Group exhibition at the Sanderling Gallery, Johannesburg
1980 Group exhibition at the South African Association of Arts, Pretoria, “New Signatures”, awarded first prize.
1977 Solo exhibition, D H Williams Hall, Johannesburg
Speelman Mahlangu’s works is represented in private and public collections in Europe, the UK, the US and South Africa, including the Frankfurt Museum of Ethnology and the Norval Foundation in Cape Town.