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Thabo Mokone: Soho Prints SA Gallery – “Images from the Past” Art Collection

Having grown up in a home where I was surrounded by images – photographs and artworks, and travelling with my photographer father over weekends as he took photos at weddings, parties and family photos. I gravitated towards photography. I bought a camera and started shooting photographs and attending art exhibitions.
I met Mvemve Jiyane, and bought my first painting from him in 1984. The rest is history – I was bitten by the art bug, and by 1986 I opened Merafe Art and Picture Framing shop in Soweto. The shop turned into a magnet for black artists, and I became part of their community – soon they were calling it ‘The Gallery’, and that is how I started collecting the artworks that I today call the “Images from the Past”. With the intensification of the political violence in Soweto in 1990, I closed the business and got involved in a farming and hospitality ventures – and servicing a few private art collectors. I got more involved with art dealing in 2002/4 by operating My Place – Pub, Restaurant and Art Gallery.
In 2012 I started investigating the possibility of writing a Coffee-Table Book, on my art collection – it was this research, which brought me back into contact with the artistic community, which saddened me as I realised that many of the 20 artists I had collected had passed on. This realisation made me to want to preserve and share my art collection – and exposure to social media such as Twitter and Facebook lead me to investigate the ‘art prints’ scenario and I came into contact with Soho Prints.

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