Previous exhibitions and projects
Artexpo New York, New York, USA, 2020
Stephan Welz & Co., Cape Town, South Africa, 2020
Kuntst 19 Zürich Art Fair, Ethnicity Art Gallery, Zürich, Switzerland, 2019
SHADOWS OF THE CITY, Ethnicity Art Gallery, Zurich, Switzerland, 2019
The Concrete Maze of Deception, Julie Miller Investment Art Institute, Investec Cape Town Art Fair, South Africa, 2019
Through You I Am, Red Room Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa, 2019
The Overlooked Shadows of the Economy, Julie Miller Investment Art Institute, Johannesburg, South Africa, 2018
Operation Smile Charity Auction, 2018
Little Steps Charity Auction, 2018 and 2017
1Fox Johannesburg Charity Auction, 2016
About the artist
Azael Langa is a fine artist and sculptor who was born in Johannesburg in 1988 and currently resides in Pretoria, South Africa. A practitioner of the artistic technique of fumage, Lange uses smoke from candles and other sources, creating works on canvas or paper which depict different scenarios from his local community in South Africa.
Langa studied at East Rand School of the Arts in Benoni, South Africa and subsequently went on to study Fine and Applied Art at Tshwane University of Technology. Langa’s work has been exhibited in international art fairs and exhibitions around the world including in Switzerland, the Netherlands, South Africa and the U.S.A. and featured in publications such as the Sunday Times (2019), Art Africa Magazine (2019) and Pretoria News (2011).
Sources of inspiration
Langa’s primary inspiration is close to home as he often creates illustrations relating to stories, people and events in his local community as a way of highlighting the importance that these have had in shaping his views and his identity. His work often explores pertinent social issues such as exclusion and exploitation as well as the dualism which exists between the individual and society.
Langa’s work is mostly figurative, with his subjects often carrying a home as a subtle way of saying that we carry our loved ones with us wherever we go. The image of a four roomed house is a symbol of love, warmth, care and comfort – four characteristics which define Langa’s experiences of home whilst growing up as a child.
Langa’s work seeks to honour the unseen men and women in society, who he refers to as “the overlooked shadows of the city, desperately trying to survive and make a living.” These shadows form the backbone of the economy yet they are often ignored and forced to suffer in silence. Through his work, Langa aims to shine a spotlight on these men and women and tell their stories as a token of appreciation. To capture and immortalise these people, Langa uses smoke drawn from two sources in his work: plastic smoke and candle smoke. He uses the poisonous smoke from plastic to convey the unpleasant side of every day existence for these overlooked figures and he uses smoke from candles as a gesture towards illuminating and purifying their situation.
In Langa’s words, “smoke is not just a medium for me – I view it as a way of expressing the soul. It allows me to look beyond the physical realm and to capture the essence of the spirit.”
Langa aims to make a lasting contribution to the art world, history and to encourage people to become more aware of the overlooked individuals within society. In the future, he would like to create a platform for young artists in the disadvantaged communities in his home town in South Africa.