Neo Image Matloga, born in Mamaila, Limpopo in 1993 – a year before the dawn of the South African democracy. Matloga pursued his visual art studies at the University of Johannesburg and in 2015, the same year he graduated he completed a residency at the Bag Factory. He has participated in various exhibitions and art fairs, both locally and internationally. At the age of 24 his work already lies in the City of Ekurhuleni, the South African Embassy in Washington DC collection as well as other private collections. Matloga lives and works in Amsterdam - Netherlands, where he is currently a participating artist at a post-academic institution De Ateliers.
Influenced by one of his father’s understanding of art quotes “art should heal psychologically” and the energy projected by South African youth, Matloga rejects to limit himself to specific artistic mediums. He has shown versatility in his paintings, drawings and collages which explore the mythic power of Sophiatown in a Post-Mandela era.
Matloga thinks it is natural for artists to feel nostalgic when they think about where they come from, especially once outside their born place. He tries to make sense of this nostalgic feeling by collaging objects and material that references domestic households, in a way, preserving and archiving the living circumstance. He brings into existence fragments of incredible happiness from his upbringing, conversations and poetic moments he remembers from growing up in a Post-Mandela era.
The main themes in his work centre around his passion for black people feeling that there is an ability for black people to belong and exist. As the legacy of apartheid persists, with no doubt, there were and still are social issues such as crime and moral degradation but none of this determined the concept of life in its entirety. His practice does not suggest that all black families were/are happy in the same way. The emphasis rather is on reflecting on the other side of the coin - considering the political landscape of the country and how people do not stop being moral agents.