President Cyril Ramaphosa praised the life of David Koloane, calling him a giant in the arts and praising his contribution to South Africa as an activist.
Following the unfortunate death of David Koloane, President Cyril Ramaphosa has offered his heartfelt condolences to the South African artist’s friends and family.
After a long and storied career in the arts, Koloane died of natural causes at the age of 81 at his home in Johannesburg.
Paying tribute to the Alexandra-born artist, Ramaphosa said: “A giant in the arts has fallen; one who has contributed immensely to the arts in South Africa as an activist, a mentor to many and a pioneer for the development of the black art community,”
Koloane was a widely acclaimed painter whose work has featured in the world’s greatest collections.
He was known as a pioneer and mentor among African artists and is known to have devoted a large portion of his time and effort helping both young and established artists at a time when working in the creative arts was not popular with the South African government.
He co-founded the first black art gallery and was deeply respected as a cultural activist.
His work tended to feature Alexandra or the city Johannesburg and was heavily influenced by the apartheid system he grew up in.
His work has been exhibited extensively both in South Africa and around the world.
“I first began working with David as an independent curator about 15 years ago. In that time I witnessed how he treated people, no matter their position or standing in society, with the same level of respect,” Liza Essers, owner and director of the Goodman Gallery said.
“He was a soft-spoken, kind and generous person who always put his students and fellow artists first.
David’s life and work stand as a testament to the indomitable nature of the human spirit, and its ability to overcome all obstacles with humility and grace.
We are left today with David’s immeasurable contributions to South African art and society. He will be sorely missed.”