David Koloane, an important figure in the art of apartheid-era South Africa, died on June 30 at his home in Johannesburg. He was 81.
According to those close to the family, the cause of death was respiratory failure. Mr. Koloane underwent chemotherapy early this year after receiving a diagnosis of lung cancer, but the disease was in remission, and he had been able to attend the opening of a career retrospective in Cape Town on June 1.
During a time of discrimination in the country, Mr. Koloane founded or helped found communal institutions to fill the gap. He played a crucial role in shaping and advancing the careers of younger artists.
Mr. Koalane’s paintings was the world that surrounded him: the panorama of black urban life, circumscribed by want, brutalized by violence, but vital and resilient. He composed his images in a smoky, shadowed Expressionist style.
“Apartheid was a politics of space more than anything,” Mr. Koloane once said in an interview in 1995.
“Much of the apartheid legislation was denying people the right to move. It’s all about space, restricting space. Claiming art is also reclaiming space.”
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