Artists, Interview, Online

Interview with Ludumo Maqabuka

Ludumo Maqabuka’s exhibition entitled, Urban Inscriptions, opened to the public on Saturday, 10 October, to an enthusiastic art audience, of over 250 guests. The esteemed Gordon Froud, Visual Artist and Art Lecturer at The University of Johannesburg, opened the exhibition, having known Ludumo Maqabuka for some years now. The exhibition runs until 31 October, at, situated at Stanley Studios, directly opposite the iconic open-air 44 Stanley Street, Milpark, Johannesburg,

Who was your greatest influence with your art?

“My late grandmother knew at a tender age that I was destined to be a creative because I was good with my hands. She made sure everyone knew. Jean Michel Basquiat is an artist that influenced me a lot as a street artist and became the first black artist to be known worldwide while tackling issues that affected black people daily. I also admire his work where expression is infused with poetry and music. His narrative and subject matter made me the artist I am today.”

What fascinates you about culture?

“Coming from a rural background, I was fascinated with the contrast between where I’d come from and the urban lifestyle, I found myself in. In the city, it was easier to access different cultures and I was hooked on the American Hip Hop culture and its elements of graffiti captivated me even more.

What aspect of graffiti art has intrigued you?

“Growing up I had always been intrigued with graffiti tagging and wanted to learn how to tag. I had never tried my hand at tagging walls, buildings, or other property because I was never willing to pay the price of possible arrest for public mark-making. Instead, I channelled my passion into the canvas.”

“What does your work highlight?”

My work highlights through everyday life – my interpretation of South African society with all its complex dynamics, as well as the effects of Urban life and its sub-cultures on township life. Capturing the textures, of decaying city buildings with their worn graffiti along with the faces of people I pass daily in the city, is the way I recite my personality and day to day life in my work. I also look to expose societal norms and how within a frame of popular culture there is the formation of constructed identities”

How has your style evolved over the years?

“Finding my signature style at school allowed me to experiment immensely. Coming from creating smooth charcoal drawings and oil paintings and now more expressive and fluid brush strokes. My style has evolved into a more liberated expressive position.”

How has lockdown affected your creative process?

“As a group, artists tend to thrive in solitude and disorder. I have created more artworks in a short space of time during lockdown than previously. My only challenge was I could not access my studio space, so I was forced to create small works due to space constraints.”

What are your dreams and aspirations?

“ I dream of conscientizing South Africans through my work, while celebrating our heritage. One of my dreams is to share my work worldwide. I aspire to travel the world being a South African artist ambassador sharing our culture and heritage”

Ludumo also participated in the Nando’s Creative Exchange in 2018 which is an artist career development programme, administered by Spier Arts Trust, that creates a mentoring opportunity for participating artists to develop the narratives in their work while building the professional-practice skills vital for artists career development. The Spier Arts Trust values the cultural contribution of art to South Africa’s creative economy, whose purpose is to facilitate successful art careers by enabling freedom of creative expression with the potential for social transformation.

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