Ezekiel Madiba

Born in Eastwood, near Pretoria, on April, 5, 1948, Ezekiel Madiba is often referred to as Boycie. When his family settled at Walmanstal, near Pretoria, he attended secondary school at Lethabong.

Madiba was only fourteen when he started drawing and soon developed a love for wood carving. After completing his final exams, he moved to Ga-Rankua township, again near Pretoria. All his life Madiba has moved around, working in different places. After a string of jobs that had nothing to do with art, in 1971 that he decided to work as a full time artist, and moved to Mabupane township, also just outside Pretoria.

Continuing to live with his family in Mabupane, his family now included his wife and three children and his mother. While many other artists have enjoyed the warmth and support of their parents as they pursued their art, Madiba’s experience with his domineering mother was not a happy one. She was very critical about her son’s chosen career and his inability to fully support his family. Also, like many other black artists, Madiba had no studio of his own and had to work from home producing large sculptings and carvings.

Madiba was inspired by the works of several white artists, in particular Raymond Andrew’s woodcuts and from whom he received lessons. Madiba’s fellow black artists such as Isaac Nkoana, David Phoshoko and Eric Lubisi have remained close friends. In 1971 he met respected black socialite and artist, Jeff Mpakati. Mpakati paved the way for Madiba to exhibit his work in various embassies. The shows were a success and a financial boost for Madiba enabling him to better support his family and thus allowing him to focus on his work.

Though Madiba’s medium is woodcut, he has also explored mixed media, such as silkscreen printing combined with woodcuts. Madiba’s work portrays the lifestyle of black people in the townships. His work has some element of humour but is also influenced by Christian ethos.

Madiba’s work include The Musicians, 1979 (Woodcut), The Blues, 1979 (Woodcut), The Crucifix, 1979 (Woodcut), Isangoma, 1979, Woodcut, The Thinker, 1979 (Woodcut), Dancers, 1975 (Woodcut on Paper), Initiation School, 1974, Women, 1974 (Woodcut),

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