Themba Khumalo

Born in Soweto, South Africa in 1987, Johannesburg-based artist Themba Khumalo refers to land as a subject matter. Through multi-media drawings, Khumalo depicts land as a witness to dispossession. In his ten-year professional career, he has participated in over twenty exhibitions, featured in over ten art fairs, and has had five solo exhibitions nationally and abroad.

His current art subject reflects the social, political, and spiritual landscape of South Africa. 

Highly emotive and sensitive the works of Themba Khumalo confers a need for connection. Using charcoal, coffee, and paint Khumalo renders bare landscapes and expressive skies.


Khumalo’s renditions of vast bare landscapes speak to the physical and spiritual essence of land. For some land is political, some necessary for survival, for some it’s home and some a source of vegetation and financial freedom.

Land is a great witness and testament to time, as we all live in it, on it, live off it, and leave it. The land sees and bears all; it experiences rain, drought, strife, flood, erosion, fire, illegal occupation, industrialisation, brutality, protest, dispossession, and still remains to tell the tale.

Khumalo's works often include poles, electricity and power lines and pylons which speak to the need for connection. Light at times needs connections to get to the right place, people also sometimes long for connections weather human interaction, or for economic pursuits or maybe just emotional connections,…interesting enough; lightning is a product of connection.

In order for lightning to happen, negative charges from the clouds (gathered from water that clouds get from the earth) connect with positive charges on the earth surface and a bolt of energy hits the land on a specific space, speaking to the connectedness of everything.

Khumalo’s work also references people sitting, meditating, and praying on these vast pieces of land referring to the human’s need to connect to a higher spiritual being or entity. Weather we refer to the entity as God, Buddha, Muhammad, Shiva, The Universe or Amadlozi (ancestors), humans often attempt for a spiritual connectedness to divinity which at times is done in natural spaces that the land features a great part in, speaking to land and its role as a site, a medium, mediator and space of refuge, an abode for faith and healing.

1987 -
Nationality: South African
Residence: Johannesburg