Thabo Treasure Mofokeng (37) – Johannesburg Merit Winner

Congratulations on being announced as one of the 7 winners in the Sasol New Signatures Competition 2023

Tell us what your reaction was when you received the news?


I was shocked, I couldn’t believe it, I couldn’t even react immediately I had to take a couple of minutes for this good news to sink in, then I walked around the yard raising my right fist celebrating in silence because I didn’t want my neighbours to be suspicious because I was told this good news is confidential.

Is this the first time you have entered the competition? If so why and if not how many times and why is this competition an important one for you?

This is my second time entering - I entered the competition in 2022. Sasol New Signatures is South Africa’s known, trusted and respected competition which has opened many doors for great artists for more than 3 decades and I also believe and trust this competition will do the same for me. This competition will help me to be acknowledged.

Tell us a little about your artistic journey up until the point of entering Sasol New Signature 2023?

My art journey has been the most difficult journey to walk but also worth it. I’ve been trying to get funds, trying to get connections through group exhibitions and through contacting galleries without a solid portfolio, but couldn’t succeed (doors were locked) until last year when I entered Sasol New Signature 2022, things started to change, my confidence was boosted by this competition and it was my first time having a group exhibition (except from school) and it was the best one.

This year I’ve been creating artworks with so much enthusiasm having Sasol New Signature in my mind and a month before entering the competition I told myself I would like to create a totally new look and feel art piece, to my surprise it came out amazing. When I looked at it I felt the connection even though the process of creating it was painful, even though I was cut by one of this mirrors I couldn’t stop because I was eager to see the end results and it was worth it. To summarise, I will say my journey up until this point of entering SNS competition has been the journey of Love and Pain.

Who has had the biggest influence on your career as an artist to this date?

Francisco Goya

Tells us a little about why you created the piece you submitted?

I saw an opportunity and a platform to express what has been bothering me for the past 10 years, seeing young and old ones committing suicide or consuming drugs to escape their problems and also giving up on themselves by doing nothing daily. Viewing themselves as failures and inferior. I created this piece to remind everyone that we are created to rule our situations, not the other way around. This art piece simply says, “Turn your problems into growth you are the King or Queen of your dreams.”

I created this piece to remind and encourage everyone who is going through a lot that we can use our daily struggles to our advantage, problems are here to build us.

I created this piece intentionally for everyone to look at themselves through those mirrors and say, “I can use my today struggle to my advantage.”

Tell us about your preferred medium/s…and why?

I’ve worked with different mediums. I love to explore different mediums and grow through exploring, but I prefer Acrylic Paint mostly because it dries quick, it allows me to flow easily. The was no other better way to pass my message to my viewer’s eyes without using mirrors for them to reflect back to themselves and restore themselves as they stand gazing at this art piece. Mirrors have been used for many centuries, the are many reasons we look at ourselves in the mirror for – and one of the reasons is to fix ourselves.

When people view your work – what reaction/response are you hoping to create?

I intentionally created this work with mirrors hoping that when people view this work they may connect and react by seeing themselves inside the art piece through the mirrors.

Why do you think your work was chosen as a top 7?

I believe it was chosen because it relates a lot to the individuals and to our nation, it brings hope and change to many broken souls.

Which South African artists do you admire and why?

Nelson Makamo – He is a hard working & very disciplined artist. His work is so unique & original he has an ability to portray the beautiful side of Africa, the joy and pride that we Africans have, despite our circumstances. He is showing the world that we are intelligent in our own unique ways as African children.

Reggie Khumalo – Is an artist who brings change across African through his art and his actions, He is an artist who walks the talk, he leads by example travelling African countries with his bike funding many African schools and also collaborating with artists in those countries, despite his bad health condition he doesn’t give up on fulfilling his purpose as an artist.

Anything else you would like to add?

I’d like to thank Sasol New Signature for the opportunity you have given me to present my artwork to my nation and thank you again for the help and change you have brought through out the years till this very day. May God bless you.