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by Melokuhle Mdlopane
Covered. 50cm x 60cm. Acrylic on canvas. 2023.
Untitled. 112cm x 161cm. Acrylic on canvas. 2022.
Boakye. 50cm x 60cm. Acrylic on canvas. 2023.


Melokuhle Mdlopane is a South African self-taught painting artist from Durban. Melokuhle has always been someone who enjoys working on art, creating and beautiful things he enjoyed drawing and expressing his creativity from a very young age “I remember I would always draw my family and friends all the time whenever they were around to visit my home and I would show them after” His love for art grew stronger when he was in school. He then decided to become an artist or continue studying art rather when he was in high school and received an award as a “most promising young artist” that is when he knew that he was an artist. Year 2016 Melokuhle started his first year at Durban University of Technology studying Fine Art up until 2017 his second year unfortunately Melokuhle did not complete his studying at the University, but he did grow and learn a lot in the short amount of time spent at the University. Melokuhle has been practicing more throughout the years he was at home learning a lot more from different artists he interacts with on social media and some he knows personally which inspired him to work a lot more “I paint because it has so much freedom when I pick up a paint brush and dip it in paint and water it feels like an odyssey a delightful one and I am always looking forward to the next and the next…”. Melokuhle has also participated at a group exhibition at the Galerienoko titled “Our Skin is not the Problem “that took place at Port Elizabeth April 2021. The artist is part of a 3-month group project called “The Durban Bremen Cultural Cooperation 2022 a project that aims to grow young and upcoming artists of Durban with special mentoring from well-known successful artists. 


Scarification has always been part of my life coming from a very traditional family combining that with my love for patterns and my culture (Bhaca Culture) it has help me understand that scarification is vast. Scarification is protection, scarification is body art and practiced because of culture…I am mainly focusing on scarification not only as markings on the skin but also the beauty of it and as protection. The figures are not showing their faces as a representation of uku Bhaca (to hide) and it also represents me personally as I am a very reserved/private person. I mostly use razor blades to cover or protect the figures on certain parts of their body which also reminds me of the armor suits “protective covering” I cover their bodies with raised scars creating markings with hot melted glue.