Lawrence Lemaoana has caused ripples with his captivating and personal pieces. Through his work he explores the conditions of being a young black man while unpacking the stereotypes associated with masculinity. Lemaoana tracks the genesis of his work to his interest in rugby. As a child he felt the challenges of being a young black man who was seen as ‘encroaching’ into a rather alien domain. This stirred an interest in dissecting his experience as a black male ‘trespassing’ a space ‘claimed’ by white males. It led to broader contemplations on masculinity and how ideas, concepts and stereotypes are constructed.
He says “My work was initially started with a very keen interest in the sport of rugby. Rugby, as is in the traditions of South Africa, is a predominantly played by ‘white males’. In the work I use staged, constructed scenes that address ideas of idealism. I create, using Photoshop, collages that speak of a contemporary African masculinity. I attempt to unseat certainty into things that are certain.” He goes on to explain, “Rugby has a lot of unwritten rules of brotherhood, bravery and advancement.” Lemaoana aims to question and confront ideologies and stereotypes.
Lemaoana’s inspiration is usually people, and often his own experiences. He elaborates: “Mostly interpretations or misinterpretations of everyday life. The condition of our country at the moment is at the top of my agenda. Also religion, especially the catholic faith.”