Skip to content
Saxophone on a wheel
David Koloane
Artwork 2001
Artwork: David Koloane, Saxophone on a wheel (2001). Saxophone, bicycle wheel, wood. 126 x 82 x 30 cm. Private collection.
Artist David Koloane Title Saxophone on a wheel Date 2001 Materials Saxophone, bicycle wheel, wood Dimensions 126 x 82 x 30 cm Credit Private collection

There is to David Koloane’s work a pictorial discord. It is found in the agitation of the artist’s mark-making; the gestural quality of his lines and their density across the picture plane. Coinciding with one another, his many colours are at times reduced to a dulling brown. This stylistic chaos is shared across Koloane’s paintings, drawings and prints – only his assemblages and collages are without evidence of the artist’s frenzied hand. Given his abstracting tendencies, Koloane’s work resists the didactic transparency of South African resistance art, being opaque in its allusions and import. In scenes borrowed from inner-city Johannesburg and Transvaal townships, Koloane found dark allegories for human suffering. He took as subject, art critic Holland Cotter writes, “the world that surrounded him: the panorama of black urban life, circumscribed by want, brutalised by violence, but vital and resilient.”

Koloane is remembered not only as an artist but as a social activist and cultural critic. His initiatives include the establishment of South Africa’s first black art gallery under apartheid (1977), the Thupelo Workshop (1985), and The Bag Factory Artists’ Studio (1991). In 1985, he was nominated as head of fine art under the Federation Union of Black Artists, a position he held until 1990. Throughout his career as an artist, Kolaone sat on numerous cultural boards and panels, published papers, contributed to catalogues, curated exhibitions, and presented at conferences around the world.