Ezekiel Madiba (1948) -- Print Makers
Ezekiel Madiba also known as Boycie, attended the Eastwood Public School in Tshwane, Pretoria. His family has Ndebele roots and his father originally comes from Polowane, then known as Pietersburg, where Madiba was born in 1948. The family later moved to Walmansthal where he attended the Lethabong Secondary school and obtained his junior certificate, standard 10.
Madiba attended art classes and became interested in wood carving and drawing. After school he moved to Ga-Rankuwa and started the first of many jobs in Tshwane. One of the jobs was in a curtain factory where he later worked in their design studio. Here he learnt about textile designing, photographic processes and silk-screen. He later moved to a semi-precious stone cutting business where he did some stone carving in the studio.
In 1971 Madiba decided to devote himself to his art full time. He moved to Mobopane, a township to the north of Tshwane, where he still lives with his family. As an artist he did not initially receive much support as many older people regarded being an artist a strange, non-paying occupation.
Besides a few classes at school, Boycie is mainly self-taught. He became friendly with the artists Raymond Andrews who is well known for his woodblock prints and learnt the woodcut technique from him, which has become his main medium.
He was one of a group of artists who met regularly and who participated in group exhibitions organized by the late Geoff Mpakati, a well known patron of the arts. The group included Lubisi, Phoshoko and Nkoana. Many of the exhibitions were held at foreign embassies in Pretoria and many of the artworks were bought by Diplomats.
From the beginning the artist was mainly interested in depicting the people of his environment and township, life of black people in South Africa. He captures this with feeling and often humorous warmth.
The Christian faith, traditional customs and the mood of the people are depicted mainly in simple black and white. The titles of his woodblock prints reveal his interests, for example The Musicians, The Blues, The Crucifix, Mother and Child and Isangoma. The scenes often have a central figure or two, or three strong figures surrounded by decorative shapes. He sometimes uses distortion to emphasize certain emotion.
Madiba has a strong sense of composition and the distribution of shapes and black and white planes is always well balanced.
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