Hoek Swaratlhe


Hoek Swaratlhe is a South African born photographer who was introduced to the medium in 2008. As a young boy from Soweto he never imagined he would have a career in photography, however in 2013 he met photographer, Johann Barnard who took him under his wing, mentored him and hired him as an assistant in his team. Swaratlhe’s photographic interest centres around his community, it’s people and urban culture which he successfully executes through his unique street and studio photographs. Francois Booyens was a pinnacle factor in introducing Swaratlhe to studio photography and cementing his interest with commercial imagery.  He still works closely with his communities on different projects as well as other leading industry professionals such as Booyens, Johann Barnard, Neo Ntsoma , Andile Bhala , Lawrence Lemaoana and many others.

He has worked and collaborated with many industry organizations such as Basement in The Arts and the recording label Sound Visual. In 2015 he became part of a two-year artist residency program at Kopanong Art Studio Residency Program at the Pretoria Arts Museum. After completing the Advanced Programme in Photography at The Market Photo Workshop in 2018, Swaratlhe continued to advance his skills in 2019 by interning at The Market Photo Workshop in the Project Department and continued freelancing for The Market Theatre and The Market Laboratory doing motion pictures and stills. in 2021 he became part of the 6TH Edition of The Incubator Mentorship Program at The Market Photo Workshop where his work was part of a group exhibition in March 2022. He became one of two recipients of the Media and Advocacy Photography Mentorship programme in February 2022 and had his 1st Solo Exhibition titled 4Dladla in October. In 2023 began working under Mary Sibande and Lawrence Lemaoana as part of a travelling and evolving exhibition title “Occupying the Gallery”. The exhibition sees its participating artists incubating and collaborating with different print workshops and showing with various galleries, so far the list of galleries and printoshops include, LL Editions, Artist Proof Studios, Danger Gevaar Ingozi Studio, Gallery 1 Keyes Art Mile, SMAC Gallery, Johannesburg. In 2024 he participated in “Bazobuya” a group exhibition curated by Lawrence Lemaoana and exhibited at the KZNSA Gallery.

Collaboration History

At the request of Mary Sibande who was working on a collaborative initiative for a group of young Joburg artists that she had taken on a mentoring role, we accepted Lusanda Ndita and Hoek Swaratlhe to come into the David Krut Workshop (DKW) at Arts On Main. Our printer Sbongiseni Khulu took over the mentoring process with these artists in gaining an understanding of the collaborative activities which are practiced at DKW.

In February and March 2024, Swaratlhe came in to start working with Sbongiseni. He came in for concentrated mentoring sessions to learn about working on paper and the various mediums of printmaking. Sbongiseni took him through new mediums in the combination of monotype and pronto lithography, which they had gained insights from other workshops where they had been working.

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