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City artist exhibits work in China

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Being the only artist from Africa, Matlhoko will not only represent the Northern Cape but also the country and the continent as a whole

KIMBERLEY-based artist Tshepo Phillip Matlhoko is currently participating in the Intangible Cultural Heritage Exhibition in China, which opened today and will run until November 28.

Matlhoko was invited by the China Foreign Art Exhibition Centre to exhibit his artwork in Quanzhou, Fujian Province.

The heritage exhibition is an important event under the framework of the 4th Maritime Silk Road International Arts Festival.

Being the only artist from Africa, Matlhoko will not only represent the Northern Cape but also the country and the continent as a whole.

The exhibition showcases craft masters from nine countries and affords them the opportunity to demonstrate their craftsmanship and inheritance to Chinese visitors through static displays as well as through dynamic performances.

Matlhoko has produced a number of portraits, some of which are on display in government offices, local municipalities and private sector offices.

Sharing his passion for the arts, Matlhoko revealed that he started making drawings of pictures from the age of six and went on to study art for seven years at the Kimberley Art Centre, specialising in wood carving, charcoal drawing and oil painting.

“I have been involved in the creative art industry for 25 years. I was part of the team that developed art effects for the Northern Cape Legislature building in 2001, while my artworks can also be seen at the William Humphreys Art Gallery in Kimberley,” said Matlhoko.

In 2006, Matlhoko was selected to study the animal skin technique in Ethiopia (Addis Ababa) under the leadership of Captain Lemma Guya.

He was identified as one of nine young artists by the National Heritage Council (NHC) and commissioned to make a portrait painting on animal skin of the then general-secretary of the United Nations, Dr Boutros Boutros-Ghali. The portrait was presented to Boutros-Ghali by the NHC on his birthday in 2010.

Matlhoko has attended and exhibited his artwork at more than 30 exhibitions, such as Macufe, the Grahamstown Arts Festival, Gariep Fees, Rand Easter Show, and Robben Island Museum. He has also exhibited in Belgium, Germany, London, Greece, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo over the past years.

“I would like to thank the Northern Cape government for the exposure that I have received in the past. The last exhibition I attended with the Trade and Investment unit gave me the opportunity to be recognised for the China exhibition that I am now attending,” said Matlhoko.

The Northern Cape MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, Maruping Lekwene, congratulated Matlhoko on his recent achievement.

He described him as a true ambassador and a prominent role-model to upcoming creative artists in the Northern Cape.

“We are proud of the work Matlhoko has displayed and I take this opportunity to congratulate him and wish him well through his artistic career,” said Lekwene

Matlhoko now operates from the Galeshewe SMME Village, where he occupies an office in which he does his artwork and sells to his clients.