Lawrence Lemaoana, Suburban bliss, 2017, Embroidery on kanga, 155 x 115 cm. Courtesy AFRONOVA GALLERY
Lawrence Lemaoana, Suburban bliss, 2017, Embroidery on kanga, 155 x 115 cm. Courtesy AFRONOVA GALLERY  

Lawrence Lemaoana is a Johannesburg-based artist, producing graphic fabric works that critically engage with mass media in present-day South Africa. Seeing the relationship between media and the ‘people’ as inherently problematic, he identifies and repurposes existing control apparatuses using his trademark cynicism. Lemaoana’s embroidered works are emblazoned with appropriated political dictums woven in kanga fabric – a material with its own complex ancestry. Here, Lemaoana wages criticism on the agency of local media, and its ability to shape social consciousness: the result turns didactic and propagandistic tools on their heads.

Lemaoana’s works have been widely exhibited, with his first solo exhibition in 2006. Recent exhibitions include Tous, les sang-mêlés, Musée d’art Contemporain du Val de Marne (MAC/VAL), Vitry-sur-Seine (2017); Le Jour qui vient, Galerie des Galeries, Paris (2017); Art/Afrique, le nouvel atelier, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris (2017) and The Art of Disruptions, Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town (2016).