Youth Month: Age is only a number – You can make a difference

Julian Motau's art work. PHOTO: Oliewenhuis Art Museum

Oliewenhuis Art Museum is commemorating this year’s Youth Month by focusing on artists that created remarkable artworks at a young age.

According to the Museum, Julian Motau is an excellent example of how much influencial young people can achieve if they explore their talents.

“Oliewenhuis Art Museum is proud to have this talented artist represented in the Permanent Collection by two artworks. The artwork Untitled, were created in 1965 when he was only 17 years old and Agony and Sorrow was created in 1967 when he was 19. Sadly, he passed away tragically at age 20 in a random killing in Alexandra Township, Johannesburg, but he produced a fairly large body of artworks and accomplished considerable success in his short life.”

Motau was a self-taught artist, receiving some mentorship from artist Judith Mason after arriving in Johannesburg. Through this mentorship he met gallerist Linda Goodman (Givon) and subsequently presented his first solo-exhibition at age 19, at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg. Also in 1967, he won the New Signatures Art Competition.

Motau is known for his highly expressive drawings, rooted in social realism, reflecting the universal fragility and emotions of being human. Many of his drawings indicate that he was influenced by artist Dumile Feni.

After his death there were several exhibitions honouring his work in South Africa as well as London, Belgium and West-Germany. His artworks are represented in most major collections in South Africa, including Iziko National Gallery, Cape Town, the University of Fort Hare, Alice and the University of South Africa, Pretoria.

Follow Oliewenhuis Art Museum social media platforms to be inspired this Youth Month.

Compiled by Justine Fortuin