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Sold at Auction: Alfred Thoba

(1951-)

Biography

Thoba was born in Sophiatown in 1951 and grew up in Soweto before moving to Yeoville.
During the apartheid era, Alfred Thoba was living illegally in a small garage in Yeoville Johannesburg. He called it the “screpyard” and he painted at night by the light of a paraffin lamp. He was forced to transport his paintings from hiding place to hiding place, in fear of the police uncovering his politically charged work. Following the Soweto Riots of 1976 – a subject that inspired one of Thoba’s best-known and most controversial paintings –Thoba painted a teenager carrying the body of Hector Peterson who had been shot by the police. Thoba was one of the most active proponents of the movement now referred to as Resistance Art.
He did not receive any formal art training, and the only exposure to art came through his Zulu grandfather, who made pots for the family. Thoba paints in a naïve style, applying thick coats of acrylic paint onto board, and shaping his figures in a stylised and stiff manner.
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