“HotHouse Talk—Lakwena”

This is the second time I saw Lakwena—we’ve visited her studio as part of our “studio culture week” at the beginning of this academic year. During that visit she was a little rushed, apparently she had a big deadline the next day and had plenty on her mind and hands. However, since I liked her work and personality, I decided to go to her talk even though I was already familiar with her work. She didn’t disappoint. This was the best talk I saw here so far, with Lakwena sharing her very beginnings, inspiration, and lessons learnt, as well as her final big and successful pieces.

At young age, travelling through and living in many places in Africa, she found inspiration in simple things that she saw all around her—such as textiles, signs (with text), and architecture. Her favourite and most influential read was The Magic Paintbrush. I think it was quite sweet of her to share that with us.

Her very first inspiration.
Her very first inspiration.
Africa.
Africa.

After finishing her Graphic Design & Illustration studies, she found herself, like most of us, trying to find any possible artistic way to meet the ends. She’s done posters, sign boards,  shop interiors, and other jobs before moving on to her current specialisation—large murals and 3D installations.

Her first post-studies posters.
Her first post-studies posters.
P1010022
Painting her first mural.
P1010025
A more advanced mural.
The shop interior paintings.
The shop interior paintings.
Screen-printing T-shirts with a friend/client that later became her husband.
Screen-printing T-shirts with a friend/client that later became her husband.

Aside from her amazing and colourful pieces, it’s her charismatic presence that wins her audience. The students leaving the room were all in love with her—she was sweet, down-to-earth, and positive.

Below you can see some of the more current pieces:

Painting a large mural.
Painting a large mural.
Her work appears on some great musicians' artwork.
Her work appears on some great musicians’ artwork.
Another great mural.
Another great mural…
… and another.
… and another.

I was also pleasantly inspired by her, and I’m looking forward to seeing her future work!

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