Sanele Matsolo

Sanele Matsolo

I am a self-taught filmmaker and photographer based in Soweto, a suburb of Johannesburg, South Africa.

I was born in Chiawelo, Soweto in 1996 and grew up in one of the informal settlements of Soweto as a child. I started school at Busisiwe Primary school in Zola. Even at a very early age I had developed a love for drawing and creating original cartoon characters in my drawings. And in grade 4 my inspiration came from a daily newspaper’s political cartoon series created by the artists named Zapiro and Sizwe. My creativity grew from there until I went to higher primary school at Jabulani Technical High School where I started painting. As time progressed, I moved on to performance and I ended up showcasing my work at the Soweto Theater as part of their art and crafts showcasing events. I fell in love with the arts completely and tried various mediums of expression. But photography proved to be my passion and became my focus and first love.

My career in the visual arts started in branding and advertising; working as a graphic designer and art director. I discovered a talent in EGD (Engineering Graphics and Design) and I taught myself that technique; designing vectors and illustrations. In 2016 I set up my own digital agency called Alpha Digitals, where I created logos and posters and branding for people and businesses in my local community.

As an artist, my work and practice strive to inspire South Africans and young creatives across Africa to tell their own stories. I focus on telling authentic South African stories that are relatable and familiar. I am drawn to unearthing the soulfulness in the characters and stories I discover - stories I get an opportunity to tell. I love to create work that has a nostalgic feeling, a relatable feeling a sense of newness and familiarity. I strive to create work that allows the viewer/audience to relive moments they have shared with friends, loved ones, and their community.­­

I love photography and illustration. The technical aspect of understanding various camera lenses and mastering the use of the camera pushes me to engage with photography fully and to learn as I work. Illustration is a different, new and exciting world to me which I am currently exploring.

I plan to build and grow my practice as a visual artist in future and to confidently tell powerful stories from my community and country.

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