Neo Theku

Neo Theku

Artist Biography

Theku’s works reflect personal experiences essentially linked to larger social and mental structures. Informed by his experience as a fatherless boy, raised by an overprotective mother. Theku uses memory as a portal to reflect on past ignored emotional states to explore the theme of mental health among young black male adults. His photography, film, and performance grapple with the system that societies use to upbring yet still destroy a male figure in black communities. Theku’s opus represents the saddening moment of grieving and a perilous response to the psychological legacy.

Through his work Theku critically engages with the complex instrument of healing the toxicity, and brutal acts of violence yet aimed at examining society’s ability to create a genuine black male character.

Theku uses a personal diction of ritual and symbols in which his physical form becomes a signifier. His use of his own body is a significant shift away from the problematic depiction of the other and is a gesture of self-actualization and acknowledgment of subjective experience.

Neo Theku (b.1996) was born in Botshabelo, grew up in Lesotho then moved to Bloemfontein, South Africa to start High-School in 2010. He currently lives and works from Bloemfontein. Theku completed Advanced Diploma in Graphic Design at Central University of Technology, Bloemfontein 2020.

His works have been exhibited at Oliewenhuis Art Museum (2019), Phatshoane Henney Attorneys (2020), Gallery 2 (2021), Ark Contemporary (2022) MM Art House (2022). He had taken part in the Art Bank of South Africa Commission Program (2021), Sasol New Signature Finalist (2021), The Nature of Cities Festival (2022), Creative Feels’ Living Heritage (2022), Blessing Ngobeni Art Prize finalist (2022). ABSA L’Atelier finalist (2022), SEED 2nd Edition (2022), Digital Lab Africa Visual Art Bootcamp (2022).

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