Neo Matloga was born in 1993 in Mamaila, Limpopo, South Africa, he is a qualified visual artist and he currently resides between Mamaila and Amsterdam. He studied Visual Art at the University of Johannesburg and finished a painting-focused residence at De Ateliers.
The works of Neo speak to both the present and South Africa’s past under apartheid. His use of monochrome creates images that aren’t tied to a specific moment or location. The events, which are both genuine and manufactured, are universally recognisable and reflect both South African culture and the larger Black Diaspora.
We are familiar with Neo’s collage artwork. He captures intimate chats between couples, people having quiet moments alone, and small groups gathered around dining tables and living rooms. Neo constructs interesting people and situations using line drawings, ink and charcoal combined with photos ripped from books and magazines.
He creates large-scale mixed-media works on paper or canvas using collage, painting, and sketching to create scenarios from his upbringing that are reminiscent of everyday life.
These monochromatic pieces experiment with perspective and surrealism while pushing the boundaries of abstraction using light, shadow, and line.
The artist’s work is a reflection on the therapeutic benefits of family and home, capturing moments of joy and community amidst conflict as well as the new optimism that was arising at the time – hope for a democratic future following the end of Apartheid.
Neo did a residency at the Bag Factory in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2015 before taking part in the De Ateliers residency there from 2016 to 2018. In 2018 he won the Royal Award for Modern Painting in the Netherlands.
Main Image: Instagram