Khaya Witbooi (b. 1977), grew up in Uitenhage in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. After matriculating in 1995 he did a college course in draughtmanship and started working as an illustrator for an architectural firm while doing freelance work for The Argus newspaper in Cape Town (court sketches, cartoons etc.). He also specialised in the painting of portraits.
In June 2010 he was selected to join the Good Hope Artist’s Studio programme where he was given a studio and the opportunity to paint full-time. In December 2011 he was awarded an artist’s residency at the more prestigious Greatmore Studios in Woodstock, Cape Town.
Witbooi uses a combination of stenciling and oil painting to express his observations, usually of socio-political nature. The result is edgy and urban with an African relevance. Topics like the seeming failure of democracy to provide solutions to problems related to post-colonial and post-apartheid South Africa, human behaviour in this context and the effects of globalisation are dealt with regularly. It provides valuable insight into a world the viewer seldom had the opportunity to experience first-hand.
“I’ve taken it upon myself to make a statement of a concerned citizen. I’m not expecting people from around the world to do it before I do. If there’s any person to make the first comment, it is the person who feels it immediately, and I’m that person.” – Khaya Witbooi
- 2014 Barnard Gallery, Paint Matters curated by Alastair Whitton
- 2013 Bremerhaven, Germany YOUNG VISIONS IN MOTION curated by Kent Lingeveldt
- 2013 Johannesburg Art Fair In the Shadow of the Rainbow curated by Johans Bormann
- 2012 The AVA Gallery, Cape Town South Africa Our fathers curated by Kirsty Cockerill and Chantal Louw
- 2015 Joburg Art Fair, Johannesburg, South Africa, Origi-nil
- 2014 Worldart Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa, My people, let Pharao go
- 2013 Worldart Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa New dog, old tricks
- 2013 SPI National Portrait Award, Top 40 finalist